Prison

Terry Liggins

In The Moment … October 5, 2020 Show 916 Hour 1

Over 600,000 individuals are released from prison annually and three-quarters of them are rearrested within five years of their release. Terry Liggins is the founder of the "Hurdle Life Foundation" and joins us today to discuss what he calls the "gaps" in the reintegration of the previously incarcerated. 

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. 

 

SDPB

In The Moment ... April 23, 2020 Show 802 Hour 2

The South Dakota Supreme Court declared a judicial state of emergency on March 13. Jails across the state have taken measures to reduce the daily population count in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in high-risk environments. And, in the midst of the pandemic, on April 17, South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson celebrated 25 years as Chief Justice. 

 

SDPB

In The Moment ... October 25, 2019 Show 687 Hour 1

A panel of South Dakota lawmakers is studying the state's controlled substances laws and an almost at capacity prison system. The group has met three times and they're close to issuing recommendations to the legislature as a whole.

SDPB's Lee Strubinger has been following the legislative summer study on offenses regarding controlled substances. He joins In The Moment from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital Studio in Rapid City.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Aspiring nurses are researching vulnerable populations and brainstorming strategies to improve lives. University of Sioux Falls students examine vulnerable populations. Some teams consider solutions for children who are hearing impaired. Others develop a plan to deter college students from abusing alcohol. Hear from a nursing instructor about comprehensive patient care and learn about the vision these 20-somethings have for making the world a better place.

prisonlandscapes.com

In The Moment ... May 8, 2017 Show 088 Hour 2

Dr. Dan Engebretson is chair of the biomedical engineering program at the University of South Dakota. He's also director of the GEAR center. He along with Eric Sandhurst and Yangxi Liu join us to talk about Biomaterials Day in Sioux Falls and how South Dakota scientists collaborate to solve problems and mentor the next generation of scientists.

South Dakota Unified Judicial System

South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson discusses the recommendations of the Mental Health Task Force and details the legislative support required to implement suggestions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Convicted killer Rodney Berget says he wants to stop an appeal that’s preventing him from being put to death, but his attorney can't support the move. The issues are enough to delay major action in Rodney Berget’s case for a few months.

Rodney Berget was in a Minnehaha County courtroom Friday. He wants to end his execution appeal.

Judge Douglas Hoffman asked if he understood that waiving his rights is a path to execution. Berget responded "yes".

That wasn’t enough for the judge to authorize a path to execution that day.

Paul Dean Jensen was serving life without parole for the murder and kidnapping of Mike Hare when the U.S. Supreme Court gave Jensen a second chance. The inmate was 14 years old when he committed his crimes. He was tried as an adult, and under South Dakota law at the time, his life sentence was mandatory. He spent almost 20 years in prison, and then his sentence was reconsidered at a hearing in Fort Pierre, held on Thursday and Friday last week.

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.

A report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore shows states aren’t doing enough to support children after parent is sentenced to prison. The foundation is recommending policy reforms aimed at putting the needs of children first when judges and states make sentencing decisions.

Scot Spencer is with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, a group that advocates for children considered at risk. The foundation wants more states to consider factors like distance and replacing suspended child support payments before sentencing a parent.  

Attempt To End Death Penalty In SD Fails

Feb 10, 2016
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A bill to end the death penalty in South Dakota failed in the state legislature. State Senator Art Rusch, who spent many years as a prosecutor and circuit judge, brought Senate Bill 94 to the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday. 

Testimony on both sides was often emotional. Lynnette Johnson of Sioux Falls lost her husband on his 63rd birthday in 2011.  Ronald “RJ” Johnson was attacked and killed during an escape attempt by two men serving life prison terms.  Johnson’s widow is opposed to repealing executions in the state.

SD Department of Corrections

A high-risk inmate is leaving prison this week after 11 years. Leaders with the South Dakota Department of Corrections say the prisoner has a violent record and did not follow rules while serving time, but his sentence has expired.  

Michael Ontiveros leaves prison Wednesday after completing time for multiple burglaries in Hughes and Walworth counties. The 47-year-old man is a registered sex offender with a history of attempted sexual assault, kidnapping, escape, and grand theft.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some inmates at the state prison are working to uphold a standard of integrity despite living decades behind bars. The South Dakota State Penitentiary houses people who have committed heinous crimes. It’s also a place where inmates of many faiths can choose to worship.

A Lutheran congregation called St. Dysmas has more than 100 churchgoers in the 700-person prison. They elect council members, and those inmate leaders talk about forming community when their own actions keep them from being part of regular society.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota drivers get new license plates starting in January, and inmates at the state penitentiary are making them. The current design is a decade old, and state officials want to update them because of aging and concerns about their reflectivity. Prisoners started producing license plates in 1929. Now current inmates are preparing to make 1.5 million plates for 2016.

SD Department of Corrections

This week corrections officials are releasing a kidnapper from the state penitentiary. Glen Walker, 46 was an accomplice of Robert Leroy Anderson. Anderson murdered two women in the 1990s. Now South Dakota Department of Corrections leaders want people to know Walker is leaving prison December 24, 2015.

Families of the victims and law enforcement know Glen Walker is walking out of prison on Thursday. State Secretary of Corrections Denny Kaemingk says he’s notifying the public because Walker’s release is high-profile – not necessarily high-risk.

US Attorney’s office / DOJ

The US Attorney’s office and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have come to a new agreement that aims to help inmates transition back into life outside prison.

The overall goal is to reduce crime and recidivism by helping newly released inmates integrate back into tribal communities.  

Troy Morley is the Tribal Liaison  for the US Attorney’s office in South Dakota.   He says currently the halfway houses used by former prisoners are outside the reservation.   Morley says this causes problems for those just released who want to visit home.    

A recent study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that within five years, about three-quarters of released prisoners were re-arrested. Inmates face a myriad of difficulties once they come out of prison, not the least of which is trying to find a job.

Prison officials say a man convicted of murdering a Sioux Falls woman apparently hanged himself in his cell. Authorities pronounced James McVay dead at the state penitentiary Thursday morning after CPR attempts failed. 

State Of The Judiciary

Jan 10, 2013

South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson joined Karl Gehrke Thursday at the State Capitol in Pierre to discuss the state of the judiciary, including the expansion of drug and alcohol courts.

Governor Introduces Criminal Justice Reforms

Jan 9, 2013

Governor Dennis Daugaard is backing a package of reforms to the state’s criminal justice system.

The changes include an effort to reduce prison overcrowding through the use of alternative punishments for non-violent offenders such as random drug and alcohol testing.

Daugaard says without reforms the state will see a 25-percent increase in prison population forcing the construction of two new prisons in the next decade.

Berget Oral Arguments

Oct 1, 2012

SDPB News Producer Kealey Bultena talks about the latest update in the Berget case. The South Dakota Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today in the case of 50-year-old Rodney Berget. Berget pleaded guilty to killing guard Ronald Johnson in April 2011 at the state penitentiary during a botched prison escape. A judge sentenced Berget to die by lethal injection. But Berget's lawyer is now appealing the sentence.