During the last legislative session, South Dakota lawmakers passed criminal reform legislation proposed by Governor Daugaard's Criminal Justice Initiative.
Wednesday, the Minnehaha County Commission announced that they have created their own Criminal Justice Advisory Committee to look into some future issues with the Work Release Center in Sioux Falls.
The Work Release Center houses non-violent, low-risk inmates from the County Jail system and the Department of Corrections. Many inmates in the center are part of the work release program, going to a regular job in the morning and coming back to the center at night.
One of the issues the committee will be addressing is the facility itself.
"It was designed as an elks club, its served the county well for 20 years but its full and the building is aging," said Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead.
The Department of Justice recently reviewed the building and pointed out some problem areas.
"The housing areas are too large, you go through a boiler room to get to one of the housing units," said Milstead.
This new committee may also consider relocating the facility.
"Our aging facility is on four and a half acres across the street from the new events center on a golf course and so the value of that property went up at the same time," said Milstead.
Now that the criminal justice reform bill will be implemented, the county is also preparing to deal with more inmates.
"There may be a shift of some additional prisoners to the county level community corrections, so we need to be prepared for that as well," said Milstead.
"Early this morning we had 154 inmates out here; that's a pretty manageable number, but if we start filling a facility too full, you run into more problems," said Minnehaha County's Warden, Jeff Gromer.
Gromer says finding enough beds is one issue, but the main concern are the behavioral problems that can arise from putting too many inmates in a confined space.
It's why the committee may consider building a new facility.
"Correctional facilities are expensive; however, what we're talking about would be dormitory housing for low risk offenders—that's the least expensive type of housing for inmates.
But the committee will also be looking into some alternatives to incarceration.
"We're looking at some other work crew programs where we might have inmates work on community service but not be housed in the facility, we're expanding some of our electronic monitoring options for alternatives to incarceration for low-risk offenders," said Milstead.
Sheriff Milstead says this committee will allow for public input throughout the decision process; he hopes to have a plan for the future of the center by next year.
Thursday, February 20 2014 7:42 PM EST2014-02-21 00:42:09 GMT
Behind the glory of football there are the scars and bruises. Some visible, some not. We still have much to learn about the health risk football puts on it's players, but some of the biggest strides inMore >>
Behind the glory of football there are the scars and bruises, some visible, some not. We still have much to learn about the health risk football puts on it's players, but some of the biggest strides in research are happening on South Dakota's fields.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 12:46 PM EDT2014-03-10 16:46:53 GMT
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota legislative panel has passed a bill to make cruelty against animals a felony. The House Judiciary committee voted 10-2 Monday in support of the measure. South DakotaMore >>
A South Dakota legislative panel has passed a bill to make cruelty against animals a felony.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 12:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 16:43:17 GMT
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee has passed a bill to require background checks of officers and employees of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. RepresentativesMore >>
The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee has passed a bill to require background checks of officers and employees of the Governor's Office of Economic Development.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 10:25 AM EDT2014-03-10 14:25:25 GMT
Two suspects are in custody after leading police on a chase early Monday morning. Police say it started around 1:00 a.m. An officer tried pulling over a car for swerving near Falls Park, but the driverMore >>
Two suspects are in custody after leading police on a chase early Monday morning.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 9:22 AM EDT2014-03-10 13:22:08 GMT
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A Spencer man has been sentenced for illegally shooting 61 double-crested cormorants on a lake island near the southeastern South Dakota town. Sixty-three-year-old Dennis Rowley wasMore >>
A Spencer man has been sentenced for illegally shooting 61 double-crested cormorants on a lake island near the southeastern South Dakota town.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 9:19 AM EDT2014-03-10 13:19:46 GMT
VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - The University of South Dakota has set May 12 as the date to break ground for new athletic facilities. The heart of the $66 million project is a 6,000-seat arena for basketballMore >>
The University of South Dakota has set May 12 as the date to break ground for new athletic facilities.More >>