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Study: New Minimum Security Facility Needed

February 5, 2013, 4:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Study: New Minimum Security Facility Needed
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The results are in from a research study, and it could propel Minnehaha County to build a new minimum security correction facility. 

Change could soon be coming to West Russell Street in Sioux Falls and it's not just the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.  The Community Corrections Center was the focus of a study in December and now the results are in.  The professionals say it's out of date and could be dangerous.

"As the consultants identified that is a facility that is very hard to supervise inmates, even minimum security inmates like we house out there," Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.

Milstead shared the results with Minnehaha County Commissioners on Tuesday.  The building holds about 200 inmates, most of who are on community service or work release.  But at times, it also serves as overflow for the county jail.  The report suggests finding new space for the overflow and building a new minimum security unit to replace the building that's served that purpose for 20 years.

Milstead adds that one of the first steps in the process of getting a new facility will be finding a location.  He says the area near the state penitentiary could be prime real estate. 

"The neighborhood up there is used to having a prison or jail in their back yard.  Quite frankly, they've been good neighbors for the Department of Corrections," Milstead said.

The county commission and sheriff now plan to form a committee to lay out the next steps.  They want to share every decision with the public, much like they did about a decade ago when they looked at a new jail.

"The community was very aware and involved in the process we were going through.  By the time it got to the point where we needed a facility, they stood behind us," Milstead said.

And that's what they hope for once again.

Two other factors are propelling the proposed new facility.  One is the construction of the new events center, which is increasing the value of the land where the current building sits.  The other is the criminal justice reform bill that is awaiting the governor's signature in Pierre.

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