ACLU Encouraging Smart Justice Campaign During Election

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — With election season in full force the American Civil Liberties Union is urging people to join their campaign that would send fewer people to jail.

A Sioux Falls man is also joining the push after losing his rights.

“Well I’m not able to vote, and that was very saddening and heartbreaking,” says Terry Liggins.

Terry Liggins is a convicted felon after pleading guilty to tax fraud almost four years ago. He’s served his time and is trying to make the path easier for others after jail.

“When I was released I ran into a whole bunch of barriers from employment to rebuilding relationships to trying to heal,” says Liggins.

Liggins and the ACLU are trying to bring people together through their Smart Justice Campaign.

“Smart justice is the idea of solving the problems of crime instead of just locking people up,” says Janna Farley with ACLU South Dakota.

The non-profit doesn’t want to get rid of the prison system, but they believe mass incarceration is not the answer.

“What we are saying is it’s time for a smarter approach to criminal justice. There are alternatives out there. There are alternatives to incarceration. We’ve seen it in Sioux Falls with the success of the drug courts,” says Farley.

Voters will elect a new attorney general this November. It’s a position that often sets the tone for incarceration.

“If we elect an attorney general who has some smart justice philosophies then we can make some real change in South Dakota,” says Farley.

Liggins doesn’t have the right to vote and he knows his actions have consequences, but he wants his story to encourage others to act.

“I hope through this campaign people are inspired to advocate for, to sign the petitions for, and just really help us return back to civility where we can actually operate,” says Liggins.

If you’re interested in joining the Smart Justice Campaign click here.

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