RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Earlier Monday, the Department of Corrections held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new women’s correctional facility.

This facility will be the second of its kind in South Dakota.

The new South Dakota women’s correctional facility will be able to hold up to 288 individuals once completed.

“Today is a day that the Department of Corrections and the state, as well as the legislature have been working on since 2021, when this land was first appointed out for an institution,” Department of Corrections Secretary Kellie Wasko said.

The goal is to help solve the serious overcrowding problem at the women’s prison in Pierre. 

“They’ve been running at or over capacity for some time. We run the statewide prisoner transportation system out of Pennington County and that’s been problematic for several of the county facilities across the state in making sure we’ve got adequate housing for people once they’re sentenced to prison,” Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller said.

The new correctional facility for women here in Rapid City is going to be going through a long construction process. Now that everything else is settled, they can start moving forward with construction and it will help out with the overflow that is taking place in Pierre.

“Considering the overcrowding in the Department of Corrections right now, this being our second female facility in the state is going to be very helpful and make a much safer environment for our females,” Wasko said.

Sheriff Mueller says he is hopeful the additional resources that will come with the new facility will help improve outcomes.

“They’re going to have a treatment rehabilitative portion built into this center here in Rapid City. So hopefully we can help people change the trajectory of their lives for the short period of time that we have them in custody, so when they get out, they’re not returning into the criminal justice system,” Mueller said.

The groundwork begins immediately with construction planned to start in January. The facility expected to be ready to go by the start of 2025.