Jail

Walworth County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Inmates sued last month to close the Walworth County Jail in Selby, and now the county commissioners are closing it.

Commissioners approved a motion Tuesday to close the jail and transfer all the inmates to other area jails within 30 days.

Experts told county officials in recent years that the 111-year-old jail is outdated and unsafe, but county officials had kept the jail open.

Attorney Jim Leach of Rapid City represents the seven inmates who sued the county.

In The Moment ... April 30, 2020 Show 807 Hour 2

As people across the state are self-isolating to prevent the spread of Sars-CoV-2, some facilities face unique challenges. Over the past few week's we've talked about colleges with cleared dormitories, nursing homes with locked down residents and staff, and today we begin a conversation about jails and prisons. Mike Milstead is the sheriff of Minnehaha County, the county with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state of South Dakota. 

 

Pennington County Sheriff's Office

Pennington County Jail officials in Rapid City have expanded public visitation access to inmates.

Along with the traditional on site access, friends and family can now visit through mobile or computer devices.

The process is similar to a Skype or Face Time session. Jail officials say increased visitation has shown to lead to better inmate behavior.  

Minnehaha County officials are implementing a new assessment that flags defendants who present a risk to the community. The effort is designed to help judges determine whether someone accused of crime should be released before trial. The process combines multiple factors but eliminates identifiers such as race, income, education, and family status.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new study shows judicial reforms saved South Dakota $34 million in the first two years. Sweeping changes in mid-2013 included presumptive probation. That means judges sentencing people for low-level felonies keep offenders in communities instead of sending them to prison. Researchers from the Justice Policy Center say initial results are promising, but the work isn’t finished.

A new report indicates changes that keep more offenders out of prison are helping state coffers without risking public safety.