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November 14, 2017 10:15 PM

Suspended Sentence: The Solution?

Pipestone, MN

When someone breaks the law, should they serve time behind bars?

That's a question attorneys and judges across the area are dealing with due to the meth epidemic and prison crowding.

Inside a cemetery mausoleum is not where most of us go for family time, but the Egges spend a couple of hours there every week, mostly sitting in silence. That's where the Sioux Falls family feels closest to their son and brother, Jordan, who died a year ago.

"He was kind. He did everything for everybody," Jordan's sister, Kalysa Egge, said.

On the night of Nov. 12, 2016, Jordan was giving a friend a ride home, but his good deed ended up not having a good ending.

"When the police show up at your door at 8:00 in the morning, it's not a good thing," Jordan's dad, Jack, said.

"They gave us the news that Jordan had been killed in Pipestone," Kalysa said.

Authorities say a drunk driver hit Jordan's car, killing him.

"I had this instinct that it was some sort of prank my brother had gotten the police to get in on and that he was in the back seat of the car. I wanted to run out there and tell him, 'What a bad joke,' but he wasn't back there," Kalysa said.

"You immediately worry about how much pain he felt, how much fear he felt. When he saw the car coming at him, did he call for us," Jordan's mom, Kathy, said.

In addition to grieving, the Egges are fighting another battle. The family is afraid the man who has pleaded guilty to killing Jordan won't serve any time behind bars. 22-year-old Zachary Boucher entered a guilty plea in exchange for 10 years probation.

"Something this tragic, this horrific, how can you turn around and justify going below those state guidelines?" Kathy said.

The Pipestone County State's Attorney wouldn't talk about the case, but KELOLAND News did talk to Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan. While cases like this don't usually get just a suspended sentence, it is common with a number of crimes.

"First offense marijuana, driving while revoked, no insurance, DWI," McGowan said.

McGowan says suspended sentences are a tool to hold criminals accountable while saving taxpayer money.

"We have a problem of overcrowding in our county jail, as well as our penitentiary, so we can't send everyone to jail and the prison," McGowan said.

In fact, the state is over capacity when it comes to female prisoners. Right now there are 532 women serving time, when there's only supposed to be room for 525.

"63 percent of our female offenders are doing time for a drug offense, so that's where we're really seeing the impact," DOC Deputy Secretary Laurie Feiler said.

Feiler says they're seeing a big increase in the number of people violating probation and parole.

"If you can get people into good substance abuse treatment, good criminal thinking programming, give them the support and get them through that, you've really made a pretty good long-term investment," Feiler said.

"With the nature of those addictions, specifically meth, it's very difficult for people to beat that addiction even with intense resources and treatment, so we frequently see people with addiction issues violate the terms of their sentence," McGowan said.

The Egges are worried the man responsible for their son's death won't learn his lesson without time behind bars.

"He made conscious choices to going to work, knowing he was going to get drunk that night and come home. He made choices all the way through there that were his choices, and it wound up killing someone," Jack said.

No matter the sentence, it won't give the Egges the true family time they want.

"I envisioned my son having little Jordans running around reminding me of the Jordan that grew up," Kathy said.

The judge could still decide to sentence Boucher to jail, but the family is worried that that won't happen.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 21.

© 2017 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

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