Legislation approved in South Dakota in 2013 was the result of a bipartisan, interbranch work group looking to avert projections of a 25 percent prison population growth by 2022. Enacted reforms focus prison space on violent and career criminals by revising sentences for several nonviolent offenses while enhancing penalties for drug trafficking crimes and aggravated felonies. The act requires legislative fiscal impact analysis of any proposed legislation that increases prison terms. An oversight council was created to monitor performance measurement, training of court and corrections staff and parole board members, and funding to local counties for probation supervision. The council recently found that 77 percent of parolees received earned discharge credits during the first seven months of implementation. Reinvestment of savings generated was authorized for recidivism reduction strategies that include substance abuse and mental health interventions and improved collection of restitution. It is projected that the law will save taxpayers around $200 million in prison costs over the next 10 years.
Continue reading to learn more about the state’s justice reinvestment process, related juvenile work, and additional resources.
SB70 (2013)- Public Safety Improvement Act
Mandates probation for the lowest felony classes, with exceptions. Increases penalties for drug manufacturing and lowers penalties for drug possession. Creates degrees of theft, decreasing some penalties and increasing others. Requires evidence-based community supervision, including use of a risk and needs assessment and graduated sanctions for rule violations. Establishes earned discharge for compliant parolees and probationers, excluding some offenders based on convicted offense. Establishes a “HOPE” court pilot program. Creates a drug court advisory council to oversee, evaluate and report on programs. Makes funding for treatment programs contingent on the program being research-based and placement of offenders based on assessments. Authorizes a “reinvestment” program to compensate counties for growth in probationers. Requires training for parole board members, judges and supervision officers. Requires a corrections fiscal impact statement for bills that impact incarcerated populations.
Full summaries of legislation can be found in NCSL’s Sentencing and Corrections Enactment Database.
Related Juvenile Work
Following adoption of adult justice reinvestment reforms, South Dakota launched the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative in early 2014. A 17-member work group was established to study and develop policy options to increase public safety, hold juvenile offenders accountable and reduce juvenile justice costs. Policy recommendations released in November 2014 are expected to be considered by the Legislature in 2015.
See above for more information on the state’s justice reinvestment process.
Return to NCSL’s Justice Reinvestment State Resources page or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice program.