South Dakota adopts major reforms of juvenile justice system

Two years after passing milestone legislation to reform the state’s criminal justice system for adults, lawmakers in South Dakota have changed the state’s approach to managing and treating juvenile offenders. SB 73 was signed into law in March. Its goals are to cut costs, invest more in proven intervention programs and reduce recidivism among young people. 
Under the bill, new financial incentives will be created for counties to keep juveniles out of the court system by having them instead participate in and complete diversion programs. The legislation also expands access to community-based programs that address substance abuse or behavioral and family issues. The state’s residential facilities, Gov. Dennis Daugaard says, will now be reserved for serious offenders. By 2020, he expects a 50 percent reduction in the number of youths being placed in these facilities and a 29 percent decline in the number of juveniles on probation.
Several other states also continue to pursue juvenile-justice reform initiatives — sometimes with the help of The Council of State Governments Justice Center. In Kansas and Nebraska, for example, the center has been working with state officials on strategies to reduce recidivism rates among juveniles.
Stateline Midwest - April 20151.25 MB