South Dakota Senate Passes Juvenile Justice Overhaul

The South Dakota Senate has approved a proposal that attempts to shift juvenile offenders toward community-based services and significantly decrease the number committed to the care of the state Department of Corrections.

The chamber voted unanimously Monday to send the measure to the state House, where it will be heard in committee.

Republican Sen. Alan Solano is the main sponsor of the measure, which is also a key legislative priority of Gov. Dennis Daugaard for the 2015 session. Solano says the proposal would reduce the number of South Dakota juveniles in state-sponsored care while holding adolescent offenders more accountable.

Daugaard is recommending about $3.2 million for the next budget cycle as part of the proposal. Much of that is aimed at expanding access to community services, especially in rural counties.