March 28, 2017
PIERRE, S.D. – Today the Juvenile Justice Public Safety Improvement Act Oversight Council released its first annual report on progress made under Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s juvenile justice reforms. The Oversight Council is the statutorily authorized entity that monitors the juvenile justice reforms.
“While we still have a long path ahead of us, this report indicates the state made great progress in juvenile justice during FY 16,” said Gov. Daugaard.
Before the 2015 reforms went into effect, South Dakota had the second highest juvenile commitment rate in the country and was 188 percent above the national average. More than three-quarters of the commitments to the juvenile justice system were for nonviolent or probation violations. Since the passage of the reforms, new commitments to DOC have declined 43 percent and the number of recommitments has declined 62 percent, from FY 14 to FY 16.
“The reforms focused on increasing public safety, holding juveniles accountable and reducing costs. We are making progress toward these goals by increasing the use of diversion programs, expanding evidence-based programming in our communities, and providing better support services for youth and their families,” Gov. Daugaard added.
Other points in the report include:
· Nearly 70 percent of diversions from the juvenile justice system were completed successfully.
· Ninety-four percent of youth completed their term of probation – a 9 percent increase from FY 14.
· Twenty-five counties applied for and received funds from the Fiscal Incentive Diversion Program, with the state reinvesting $242,500 back into the counties.
The Oversight Council recognized the need for adjustments to the law during the 2017 Legislative Session. Gov. Daugaard recently signed four bills to strengthen SB 73:
· SB 83 clarifies a state’s attorney’s authority to file a CHINS petition if informal action is insufficient.
· SB 84 allows the court to extend a youth’s probation period if he or she absconds.
· SB 103 increases flexibility for school officials and state’s attorneys to manage truancy by using either a citation process or a formal petition.
· SB 179 amends the length of terms of juvenile probation. SB 179 was signed into law today.
To read the Juvenile Justice Public Safety Improvement Act report, go to jjri.sd.gov and click on “Resources.”
Also today, Gov. Daugaard signed into law Senate Bill 179, an Act to revise the length of the maximum probationary period for juvenile probationers.
The bill was introduced on the final day of the 2017 Legislative Session in response to the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 164. SB 179 mirrors an earlier version of SB 164, which received hearings during the main run of session, and does not include the section on self-harm which Gov. Daugaard found problematic.