Pennington County gets $300K for criminal justice reforms

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Pennington County gets an additional $300,000 to help with its community engagement program.

In October 2017, the county (sheriff’s office and Seventh Circuit Court), received a $1.75 million grant to make criminal justice system reforms and reduce the county jail population. The new funding also goes to the Safety and Justice Challenge program.

Recently the MacArthur Foundation opened up funding for sites to apply for up to $400,000 over two years for community engagement funding.

According to a Pennington County Sheriff’s Office release, the foundation was ”impressed with Pennington County’s warrant resolution efforts on the Native American reservations. Specifically, the Foundation is putting money behind local efforts to facilitate bridge-building within our community, with the ultimate goal of developing a leadership circle to serve as a resource for the community.”

The funds will be used to provide training and support to current community leaders in addition to identifying, engaging and developing future leaders. It will target two major problems: Native Americans and other minorities are vastly underrepresented at decision-making levels, specifically with respect to justice reform; and that the present community leaders are over-burdened and face a high risk of burnout.

“This is a great opportunity for our criminal justice system to be deeply engaged with community outreach as we continue to tackle many of our community’s most complex social problems,” says Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris.