Frequent Questions

Juvenile Committals

How are juveniles committed to the Department of Corrections?

Juveniles are committed to the DOC by the courts as either adjudicated delinquents or as children in need of supervision (CHINS).

A "delinquent" is defined by South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) 26-8C-2 as any child ten years of age or older who, regardless of where the violation occurred, has violated any federal, state, or local law or regulation for which there is a penalty of a criminal nature for an adult, except state or municipal hunting, fishing, boating, park, or traffic laws that are classified as misdemeanors, or petty offenses.

A child in need of supervision or "CHINS" is defined by SDCL 26-8B-2 as:

  • Any child of compulsory school age who is habitually absent from school without legal excuse;
  • Any child who has run away from home or is otherwise beyond the control of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian;
  • Any child whose behavior or condition endangers the child's own welfare or the welfare of others; or
  • Any child who has violated any federal, state, or local law or regulation for which there is not a penalty of a criminal nature for an adult, except violations of subdivision 34-46-2(2),or petty offenses; or
  • Any child who has violated SDCL 35-9-2 or 32-23-21.

If a youth is adjudicated as a delinquent or CHINS, does a judge have other options other than committing the youth to the Department of Corrections?

Yes. For a child adjudicated as a delinquent, a judge can utilize any of the alternatives listed in SDCL 26-8C-7. For a CHINS, a judge can utilize any of the alternatives listed in SDCL 26-8B-6.

Is a youth committed to DOC for a certain amount of time?

A youth is committed to the DOC until the age of 21. The actual length of stay in facilities and period of commitment depends on several factors including offense history, institutional conduct, efforts toward self improvement and the development of an acceptable aftercare plan. The majority of youth are discharged from DOC for good conduct prior to age 19.

Once a youth is committed to DOC, are their parents still responsible for them?

Upon committal to DOC, the Secretary of Corrections becomes the guardian of the youth and may appoint the person in charge of a public or private institution or program as the youth's custodian.

However, parents, guardians or custodians of a child who has been committed to the DOC shall maintain financial responsibility of the child according to SDCL 26-7A-42. The committing judge determines what amount of parental support is to be paid to the Department of Corrections. Parents or guardians remain responsible for medical, dental and other costs while their child is in a correctional placement in accordance with court order. Any health and dental insurance coverage must be reported to the Juvenile Corrections Agent as soon as possible.