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January 15, 2013 01:28 PM

Justice Change Could Save $162 Million In 10 Years

pierre, sd

A South Dakota official says the state could save an estimated $162 million in the next decade if the Legislature approves a plan to improve the rehabilitation of convicted criminals by treating more nonviolent offenders outside prison walls.

Jim Seward, Gov. Dennis Daugaard's legal counsel, says the state could spend an additional $212 million building and running two new prisons if nothing is done to stem a rapid increase in the number of inmates. A plan to use intensive probation and parole and special courts for drug and alcohol offenders would cost an estimated $51 million over the next decade, giving the state a net savings of nearly $162 million.

Seward and other state officials briefed the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee on the plan and its projected costs.

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