Reducing Corrections Spending In SD
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
July 18, 2012 10:28 PM
State prisons in South Dakota have filled up at a rapid pace and building more prisons in the state can be costly.
Government officials in Pierre have been worked hard on possible solutions to fix the overcrowding problem.
The initiative is called a major criminal justice reform, a plan with an ultimate goal to reduce corrections spending in our state.
Governor Dennis Daugaard said this initiative has three main goals.
"We want to keep our citizens safe above all, we want to hold our offenders accountable, but we also want to do it in an efficient way. And if there are means where we can improve public safety, continue or even improve our accountability while saving states money or redeploying those assets more effectively, that's what we need to do," said Daugaard.
Since 1980, South Dakota’s prison population has grown from less than 600 inmates to now over 3,600 inmates.
Governor Daugaard said our prison population rate is way higher than nearby states.
“We now have a higher incarceration rate than any of our neighboring sates and our rate is nearly two times the rate of Minnesota and North Dakota,” said Daugaard.
Building new prisons is far too costly and Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson, said we need to be saving taxpayers dollars.
“These are huge issues that are facing our state and the people of South Dakota deserve strong and deliverable plans of actions to bring about the necessary changes to reduce these costs,” said Olson.
After a correction spending is reduced, money will go towards other programs such as education, economic development and roads.
And Governor Daugaard said the final outcome will hopefully result in just that.
“All I do know is that to the extent that we’re spending money on what we shouldn’t on, as corrections, that we could be suing for other things, we should try and find every one of those dollars,” said Daugaard.
The plan is geared to be smart with crime while saving millions at the same time.
Governor Daugaard, along with other state representatives and a working team will be meeting in August to start working on the initiative.
The goal is to have a data-specific detailed-plan available by the next legislative session.