South Dakota State Penitentiary

Pastoring during the pandemic

22 hours ago

In The Moment … November 2, 2020 Show 933 Hour 1

Churches have been hit hard during this pandemic as parishioners couldn't go to worship due to some buildings being locked down. Some of those restrictions have since been lifted. South Dakota's prison system is no exception as pastors are not allowed inside the walls to conduct church service. Wayne Gallipo is the pastor of St. Dysmas, the congregation inside the walls of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. He joins us today to discuss his experiences.

SD Inmates Make Jewelry And Raise Money For MMIW

Dec 12, 2019
Richie Richards / Native Sun News

A group of South Dakota inmates is raising money to help causes that support missing and murdered Indigenous women and Native health care programs. The endeavor lets inmates participate while they’re incarcerated. 


Cody Hopkins has been an inmate at the South Dakota State Penitentiary since 2015. Hopkins says he wants to help programs he believes in, but his options are limited. 


“There’s so many things in here that we are constantly looking at from the inside out,” Hopkins said.


Jackie Hendry

  Note: This story originally aired on 11/12/19

Ten employers and more than 70 inmates participated in the Second Chance Job Fair at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. The event helps men who are currently incarcerated prepare for the next chapter of life and envision a place in their community beyond the penitentiary.

This is the first job fair of its kind at the penitentiary, and it’s the result of nearly six months of partnerships and preparation.

Berget Executed After SCOTUS Denies Stay

Oct 29, 2018
Jackie Hendry

After a nearly six-hour delay, Rodney Berget was executed Monday for his role in the 2011 murder of correction officer Ron “RJ” Johnson at the state penitentiary. A motion to stay the execution reached the United States Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled in favor of the preceding litigation and the South Dakota Supreme Court’s decision.  

As the scheduled execution time neared, about 40 anti-death penalty demonstrators stood in silent prayer for Rodney Berget and others impacted by the case.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... May 2,2017 Show 084 Hour 1

To love someone is inherently risky. Poet Christine Stewart's book "Untrussed" explores the promises of love and loss. If you joined the SDPB Book Club last year, you recently discovered a copy of "Untrussed" in your mailbox. She joins us today to talk about "wonderful rejections," autobiography in poetry and more.

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.