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Sweeping Changes in S.D. Criminal Code Signed Into Law

photo by Chad Coppess S.D. Tourism

Today Governor Dennis Daugaard  signed SB 70 into law. “The South Dakota Public Safety Improvement Act(Criminal Justice Reform legislation)” changes the way many non violent criminals will be punished/treated by state courts and corrections systems.

The legislation is a recognition of the reality that South Dakota’s philosophy of “lock the door, and throw away the key,” was getting too expensive. We have the highest number of people in our prison system per capita than any state in the nation.

The changed laws and philosophy will save all of us money, and help the criminal deal with the issues which caused them to get into trouble, alcohol, drugs, mental illness. Treatment programs will be funded by the state. More probation officers will be hired.

It has been years since our criminal statutes were updated.  This piece of legislation sailed through both houses of the legislature. Governor Daugaard, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, David Gilbertson, and Attorney General Marty Jackley led and coordinated this effort, with a host of others providing the input to find solutions that will work.

Here is a suggestion for the Governor, use the same style, format, and tactics to tackle funding and quality of education.

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