Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative
State lawmakers gave their approval to an overhaul of the juvenile justice system during the 2015 Legislative Session. Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the bill into law on March 12.
Over the course of 2014, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative Work Group, a bipartisan, inter-branch, data-driven group, analyzed juvenile justice data and considered whether policies could be developed to improve outcomes for juvenile offenders at a lower cost. The work group developed a package of policies that resulted in SB 73.
The bill was designed to achieve the goals laid out for the Work Group: increase public safety by improving outcomes, hold juvenile offenders more accountable, and reduce costs by investing in proven community-based practices while saving residential facilities for juveniles who are a public safety risk; mirroring those of the South Dakota Public Safety Improvement Act of 2013, which overhauled the adult criminal justice system.
The new law will:
Prevent deeper involvement in the juvenile justice system
-Expand the use of diversion by providing fiscal incentives to counties and encouraging broader use of diversion for non-violent misdemeanants and child in need of supervision with no prior adjudications.
-Create a juvenile citation process to address certain low-level violations swiftly and certainly.
Improve outcomes by expanding access to evidence-based interventions in the community
-Increase access to evidence-based treatment across the state.
-Monitor implementation and delivery of treatment in rural areas.
-Evaluate strategies to improve outcomes for Native American youth.
Focus residential placements on youth who are a public safety risk
-Create a presumption of probation for all but establish criteria, allowing youth posing a risk of harm to others to be committed.
-Establish Community Response Teams (CRTs) as resources to help judges identify community-based alternatives to DOC commitment.
-Institute performance based contracting for providers to meet treatment goals within established timeframes, when possible.
-Require findings from the court prior to placing a child in county
Ensure quality and sustainability of reforms
-Establish an oversight council to monitor, evaluate the implementation of the reforms.
-Provide funding to counties if detention bed days increase.
-Train DOC staff to be full participants in treatment team meetings for youth in placement.