Prison oversight committee aims to reduce numbers behind bars - KOTA Territory News

Prison oversight committee aims to reduce numbers behind bars

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    A committee charged with monitoring the state's correction system met at the school of mines Monday.
    As part of Senate Bill 70, signed in 2013, the South Dakota Public Safety Improvement Act Oversight Council was created to find ways to reduce the number of non–violent offenders in the South Dakota prison system.
    The committee is mandated to meet twice per year and is made up of appointed officials from several branches of government, as well as state and defense attorneys.
    Jim Seward, general counsel for Governor Dennis Daugaard says the state must find alternatives to incarceration that can help rehabilitate more inmates, "The goals that we received were to improve public safety, hold offenders more accountable than we have been and reduce corrections spending and reserve those few beds we have in prison for the violent, chronic and career criminals."
    District 32 Representative Jacqueline Sly says they are concerned about the high number of women from the Black Hills that are finding themselves behind bars.
    Other key points of Monday's discussion were the role mental health and substance abuse services, and availability of housing plays in reducing the rate of re–offense.
    Sly commented, "If we can provide those services in the community, so they can still be in the community, be on the medication they may need and be monitored so that they can be successful, that's to everyone's advantage”.
    The state prison system currently houses more than 3700 inmates.
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