Report outlines South Dakota Indian Country prosecutions - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Report outlines South Dakota Indian Country prosecutions

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The number of prosecutions on South Dakota's two largest Indian reservations is up while the number of cases that have been declined for prosecution is down, the top federal prosecutor in South Dakota said.

Over the past four years, prosecutions are up 131 percent on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and 82 percent on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, said U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson.

Also, the number of Indian Country cases in South Dakota declined for prosecution dropped from 164 in 2011 to 114 in 2012.

The statistics are part of a new Department of Justice report to Congress looking at investigations and prosecutions in Indian Country. The report focuses on law enforcement efforts in Indian Country. It was a requirement of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010.

Johnson, who served as chairman of the Justice Department's Native American issues subcommittee from 2009 to 2013, said the report indicates that South Dakota in a national leader in working with Indian Country.

The statistics in South Dakota are possible because of a new relationship with the tribes, Johnson said. He said that four years ago people were skeptical that public safety could be improved on the state's Indian reservations.

"Those people were wrong," he said in a statement. "This report to Congress reveals that we have significantly increased prosecutions and are working closely with tribal and federal law enforcement to make tribal communities a safer place to live."

The improved safety is thanks to efforts like a community prosecution pilot program on the Pine Ridge reservation that helps the U.S. attorney's office and the attorney general of the Oglala Sioux Tribe work more closely together and hiring a special assistant U.S. attorney to prosecute violence against women cases in federal and tribal court on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Johnson said.

However, he added that there is still a lot of work to be done.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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