Brief Assessing the Impact of South Dakota's Sentencing Reforms: Justice Reinvestment Initiative
Brian Elderbroom, Samuel Bieler, Bryce Peterson, Samantha Harvell
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South Dakota made significant reforms to its justice system with the 2013 enactment of the Public Safety Improvement Act (S.B. 70). This brief summarizes findings on the preliminary impact of two of these reforms: presumptive probation and felony reclassifications of drug possession and ingestion. These policies have produced positive results, but new developments threaten that success. While prison admissions and sentence lengths for affected offenses declined, the number of convictions for eligible offenses increased. These increases challenge the state’s progress toward its reform goals. This brief offers policy recommendations South Dakota should consider to build on the success of S.B. 70.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center
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