Admissions & Orientation
What happens when a new inmate first arrives at prison?
When new inmates arrive in prison, they go through a process known as Admission and Orientation or A & O. Male inmates go through the A & O process at the Jameson Annex of the South Dakota State Penitentiary; females at the South Dakota Women's Prison. The A & O process takes approximately 20 days and is designed to ease the transition into the inmate's new surroundings. Inmates are assessed for physical and mental health, education and for chemical dependency and sex offender treatment needs if warranted by the inmate's crime or history. Prison staff also collects information on the inmate's crime, previous criminal history and prior institutionalization as well as their employment history and work skills.
The inmate classification process begins during A & O to determine the inmate's risk level and recommended placement.
During this period, inmates are given an Inmate Living Guide, which explains the available services, institutional operations and rules and regulations. The Inmate Living Guide also contains information on subjects such as classification, rules governing inmate conduct, discipline, visiting, mail, counts, commissary and other such activities.
Inmate Living Guide
Inmates are also given an Individual Program Directive (IPD) which spells out what is expected of them based on their time to serve, classification and program needs. For new parole system inmates sentenced to a term of years, the IPD establishes standards and criteria for initial parole. For old system parole inmates, the IPD documents program needs and provides a mechanism for resource allocation.
When inmates receive their housing assignment, they are also assigned to a Unit Team. The Unit Team typically consists of a Unit Manager, Case Manager and a Correctional Counselor. The Unit Team works with the inmates to address any problems, answer any questions, etc.
Can inmates have visitors during this time?
Inmates are not allowed visits during the A & O process. Once an inmate is assigned a housing unit, they are allowed to have visits, make phone calls, etc. You can write to an inmate while they are in A & O. For male adult inmates, write to:
South Dakota State Penitentiary
1600 North Drive, PO Box 5911
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5911
For female adult inmates, write to:
South Dakota Women's Prison
3200 East Highway 34
c/o 500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
What do new inmates do for supplies like toiletries?
Those items are provided for new inmates.Once an inmate completes A & O and establishes an inmate bank account, they can purchase items such as shampoo, shaving cream and toothpaste from the prison commissary.If an inmate is indigent, the state will supply the basic toiletries.