- Associated Press - Saturday, October 14, 2017

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A county sheriff’s office and a circuit court in South Dakota have received a $1.75 million grant for criminal justice reform and to reduce the county jail population.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office and Seventh Circuit Court received the grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rapid City Journal reported. It’s part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a more than $100 million national initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way people about jails and their uses. The funding is intended to provide additional support for strategies that address the main reasons of local jail incarceration.

“Everyone benefits when our local justice systems responsibly steward taxpayer dollars and commit to safely improving outcomes for families and communities,” said Sheriff Kevin Thom. “We are encouraged by past progress and look forward to continuing these critical efforts in partnership with the community we serve.”

The sheriff’s office and circuit court have created a plan for local justice system reforms, aiming to reduce the average daily jail population by 20 to 24 percent over two years.

“One part of our plan to accomplish this is to speed up the case processing pace. Our participation in the Safety and Justice Challenge has been crucial in helping us make headway toward this goal,” said Seventh Circuit presiding judge Craig Pfeifle. “The additional support will help us continue this work, while also pushing our justice reform efforts further.”

By 2019, the cities, counties and states supported by the grant hope to have reduced jail populations by 18 to 30 percent.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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