New numbers show that there are more inmates in South Dakota's prisons than in prisons in any of the surrounding states. And, it costs a lot of money to keep them there.
So, South Dakota's governor says something has to be done. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, (R) South Dakota says, "Doing nothing is not a good option."
In 1980, Daugaard says the state spent $6-million a year to house about 600 inmates in South Dakota prisons. The prison population has jumped 500% since then. Today, Daugaard says it costs $100-million a year to house about 3,600 inmates, and to account for another 7,000 on probation.
The state has formed a working group, which is made up of judges, lawmakers, and corrections officials, to come up with ways to accomplish three key goals. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, (R) South Dakota says, "We want to keep people safe above all else. We want to hold offenders accountable, and do it in an efficient way."
The governor's working group will meet over the next few months. The goal is to have a bill drafted by late October, or early November. That way, lawmakers can see it when the session starts in January.
If they don't do something, Daugaard says projections say the state's prison population will rise 25% over the next ten years at a cost of $224-million. $90-million of that would pay for a new men's prison, and $36-million would cover the cost of a new women's prison to handle the surge in the prison population.
The workgroup will study existing policies and see if there are any reforms, like community treatment programs, that could ease the amount spent on Corrections each year while maintaining public safety.
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