Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed into law a plan to cut the state's prison costs by treating more nonviolent offenders through intensive probation, parole and other programs outside prison walls.
Daugaard signed the bill Wednesday in a ceremony held in the Capitol rotunda.
South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson and legislative leaders stood by the governor's side during the ceremony. Daugaard, Gilbertson and legislative leaders appointed a panel that came up with the proposal.
The new law will use intensive probation and parole, along with expanded special courts that treat drug and alcohol offenders, in an effort to divert offenders from prison and prevent them from committing future crimes.
Officials say the measure will avoid the need to build two new prisons.
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