Juvenile Justive Overhaul Passes First Committee

Gov. Daugaard's plan to reduce number of adolescent offenders

A South Dakota legislative panel has approved a proposal that aims to shift juvenile offenders toward community-based treatments and significantly decrease the number committed to the state Department of Corrections.
    
The Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously on Friday to send the measure to the chamber’s floor.
    
Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s general counsel, Jim Seward, says the plan would reduce South Dakota’s startlingly high rate of adolescents in state-sponsored care. It’s a pillar of Daugaard’s policy agenda for the 2015 session and builds on 2013 reforms to the adult corrections system.
    
Huron resident Julie Pomerico’s 19-year-old son is incarcerated because of crimes related to drug abuse. She says that if the proposal had been in place when her son started getting into trouble, he might have avoided prison.