Prison or treatment for South Dakota’s drug offenders? The debate continues in Pierre (Audio)

February 20, 2020

PIERRE, S.D.–The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed the attorney general’s bill designed to limit presumptive probation for South Dakota’s drug offenders.

When an inmate is convicted of a Class Five or Class Six Felony, it’s assumed that person will be sentenced to probation. A judge can justify prison time if they think it’s necessary

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg wants to change that. He says presumptive probation is tying judge’s hands, and there’s no threat for the offender. Ravnsborg says cooperation has dried up since the Legislature passed presumptive probation in the Criminal Justice Reform Bill in 2013… 

Doug Abraham is the lobbyist for the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He spoke against the bill… 

Senator Craig Kennedy of Yankton says this bill could cost the state millions of dollars… 

The measure passed in committee 5-2, and now moves to the Senate floor.