By Associated Press - Thursday, February 21, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota Senate panel favors ending presumptive probation, a priority for the state attorney general that legislative analysts predict will cost more than $53 million over the next decade.

The Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 Thursday to send the cornerstone of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s legislative agenda to the floor. The move comes a day after Gov. Kristi Noem said she’s asking that lawmakers hold off on reversing the policy, citing the cost.

Presumptive probation requires judges to sentence people who have committed certain nonviolent, lower-level felonies to probation rather than prison, unless there’s a “significant risk” to the public.

Republican Sen. Stace Nelson, a bill supporter, says the practice gives offenders “a pass.”

The legislative analysis shows that repealing presumptive probation in favor of prison time would come at an annual cost of nearly $4 million and about $14 million in one-time construction costs.



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