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General Counsel Says Prison Reform Working

July 29, 2014, 5:57 PM

General Counsel Says Prison Reform Working

South Dakota's General Counsel says legislation passed last year in an effort to reduce the prison population and save money is working.

Jim Seward says the Public Safety Improvement Act has tripled the number of nonviolent offenders in the state's DUI and drug courts, increased the number of criminals on probation and decreased the number serving parole.

The legislation passed in 2013 brought about sweeping reforms that changed the state's focus to allow nonviolent drug offenders to seek treatment via drug courts instead of prison. It also allows cooperative parolees to reduce their time on parole.

Seward says the state's prison population was 3,624 on June 30. That's an increase over the 3,576 from last year. Seward says the reforms helped keep the increase down.

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