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July 17, 2012 06:05 PM

State Leaders To Focus On Crowded Prisons

Crime is increasing in South Dakota, but space is not.  Prisons are filling up and costing thousands of dollars every year.

State lawmakers, court justices and Governor Dennis Daugaard are teaming up to find all feasible ways to bring prison numbers down.  Inmate numbers increased by more than three percent in the past year.  That may not sound like a lot, but officials say if that continues over the next 10 years, we could be seeing even more prisons in South Dakota.

The goal is to keep dangerous criminals off the streets, but the problem is where to put them.  At this rate, the state is running out of options.

As of July 2012, there is an average of nearly 3,546 inmates in South Dakota prisons, including about 730 at the State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls and more than 1,1200 at the Mike Durfee Prison in Springfield.

Currently, there are about 3,117 males and 429 females doing time behind bars.  This has fluctuated a bit since June.  It is crowded and costly.  Depending on the prison, the price tag per inmate in South Dakota has previously reached about $80 per day.

State officials want to reform criminal justice and improve cooperation between the three branches of state government.  They hope to make the criminal justice system more efficient and effective while keeping the public safe and holding criminals accountable.

On July 18, state leaders are holding a press conference to discuss what options could help solve this problem.

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