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February 22, 2012 10:05 PM

Alerting The Public When Inmates Are Released

sioux falls, sd


It's not very often authorities alert the public when an inmate is released from prison. But, last summer a brutal murder in Sioux Falls changed everything. 


It was one of the most heinous crimes ever in Sioux Falls. James McVay, a diagnosed schizophrenic who had just been released from prison into a transition program, snuck into the home of Maybelle Schein and slit her throat while she slept.

People were outraged they weren't notified of McVay's release.

"Last fall after the incident with McVay at the Penitentiary we made a decision that we are going to have a closer look at those high risk releases that go out from our facilities," Department of Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk said.

200 inmates are released every month from the prison. But now, if one is considered high risk and a threat to re-offend, like in the case of Ed Morris, the Corrections Department will alert the media and citizens via email or text messages 

"Some of those, very few of those that come to the level that I believe is a person has a high risk to recidivate and it's just prudent for law enforcement and also the the public too to be notified of his release," Kaemingk said.

Kaemingk says those decisions are made to protect the public. 

"It is a clinical decision based on experts, not only in the criminal field, but also the sex offender field and with this individual when we looked at his risk to the public as I said in the press release he has a criminal history of engaging in aggressive acts of sexual perpetration of vulnerable individuals, including children and the developmentally disabled, with little or no grooming or planning involved," Kaemingk said.

People can go to nixle.com and sign up to receive alerts from the DOC, State Penitentiary, Mike Durfee State Prison, Rapid City Minimum Unit, Yankton Minimum Unit, STAR Academy East Campus and STAR Academy West Campus.

People can also register for the alerts by texting the following bolded keywords to 888777:

South Dakota State Penitentiar: SDSP
South Dakota Women’s Prison: SDWP
Mike Durfee State Prison: MDSP
Rapid City Minimum Unit: RCMU
Yankton Minimum Unit: YKMU
STAR Academy East Campus: STARE
STAR Academy West Campus: STARW
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