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South Dakota Panel Urges Reform of Criminal Justice System

A guard tower and prison yard
David Greedy/Getty Images

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A panel appointed by state leaders from all three branches of government has recommended changes in South Dakota’s criminal justice system that could save up to $212 million in prison costs in the next decade.

The group’s recommendations include keeping more drug and alcohol offenders out of prison by placing them in intensive treatment programs, focusing probation and parole on offenders most at risk of getting into trouble, and changing sentencing laws.

The panel’s report says the recommended changes would improve public safety, hold offenders accountable and focus prison spending on violent and chronic criminals.

The panel was appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson and legislative leaders. Those officials will use the report to propose changes in law during the next legislative session.

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