South Dakota’s new Attorney General is in the media to talk about following through on his plans to end presumptive probation in the state and give Judges back discretion when it comes to dealing with scofflaws:
South Dakota’s incoming attorney general plans to follow through on his tough-on-crime campaign plan to reverse the state’s presumptive-probation policy for some lower-level felonies, a measure credited with helping avert expensive prison-population growth but criticized by some for tying judges’ hands.
Attorney General-elect Jason Ravnsborg told The Associated Press recently that ending presumptive probation would be the cornerstone of his legislative agenda for the upcoming session, saying the move would give the courts more flexibility. But critics argue it would open the floodgates to imprisoning significantly more people after South Dakota in 2013 passed a Republican-led justice-system overhaul to tackle prison overcrowding, cut costs and expand drug-addiction treatment options.
House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, a Republican from Platte, said recently that he supports ending the policy.
“I think it would be a good thing to get rid of,” he said.
This was a big reason why County Sheriffs liked what Ravnsborg had to say, and supported him in the election. While it may have averted prison growth, there was the impression that it just dumped the problem on lower levels of government (as schools will tell you that Juvenile Justice reform did for them).