Release: Senate Judiciary Committee votes to advance repeal of presumptive probation

From my mailbox in a release from the ACLU:

Senate Judiciary Committee votes to advance repeal of presumptive probation

Today, in a 5-2 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Senate Bill 19, legislation that would repeal presumptive probation.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes Senate Bill 19. Presumptive probation, which was signed into law in 2013 as part of the Public Safety Improvement Act, requires that, when sentencing people for Class 5 or Class 6 felonies, courts are to sentence the person to probation, rather than penitentiary time. Judges, however, have the leeway to sentence low-level offenders to prison time if they believe it is warranted.

“The concept of putting fewer people behind bars may seem like a difficult stance to take in a state as conservative as South Dakota, but tough-on-crime policies can’t fix society’s problems – especially in regards to addiction,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “While there are examples of offenders who are a true threat to public safety and require incarceration, many others are nonviolent offenders whose sentences do more harm than their underlying crimes.”

According to the fiscal note from the Legislative Research Council, provided after the committee voted, repealing presumptive probation would cost South Dakota taxpayers more than $53 million over 10 years.

In addition to the ACLU of South Dakota, the Department of Corrections and the Bureau of Finance and Management opposed Senate Bill 19, along with organizations like Americans for Prosperity, the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Trial Lawyers Association and the National Association of Social Workers, South Dakota Chapter.

41 Replies to “Release: Senate Judiciary Committee votes to advance repeal of presumptive probation”

  1. Anonymous

    SD will regret removing this law. It will cost more and just make more criminals. These people need treatment, not incarceration.

    Reply
        1. Peter

          And paying for more treatment doesn’t also increase cost Mr. Anonymous, who is afraid to put his/her name on here.

          How about the fact that if something is illegal but you won’t get punished, then that will drive usage up significantly. Jail time is a deterrent. Get EDUCATED!!!!

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            70% of individuals convicted for a crime and sentenced for time commit another crime within two years of their release. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-prison-an-effective-deterrent-dsfb2lqrg3b

            Providing treatment, which usually costs the person sentenced to treatment and not the general public, shows a much greater return on investment. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-abuse-treatment-criminal-justice-populations/providing-drug-abuse-treatment-to-offenders-worth-f

            Try again, Peter. You can’t just make claims without backing them up.

            Reply
            1. Anonymous

              Causation or correlation? Your link indicates that “70% of the people that are too stupid to forego a poor choice that has jail as a consequence will likely do it more than once”. Your second link implies that hose that are smart enough to limit their poor choices to those that only result in a slap on the wrist are smart enough to not do it a second time (since the penalty is more severe).

              Reply
  2. Anne Beal

    Interesting conversations the last 2 days; what I heard:
    1. Tuesday night:
    Repealing presumptive probation will result in more incarcerations and cost more money
    2. Wednesday morning: the state needs to lower the school drop out age from 18 to 16 because the schools have a bunch of kids causing trouble and they want to expel them.
    3. Wednesday afternoon: the troublesome kids really belong in juvie but under presumptive probation they are still in school.

    This will not be easy to sort out.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    1 of 2 states in the entire country that don’t help fund preschool. Kicking autistic kids to the side and giving up on them. Reducing the school drop out age to 16. Sending unpaid school lunch bills to collections. Make changes to help send more people to prison. This is the SD GOP who claims to have Christian morals.

    Reply
  4. Nonymouse

    The rub is that presumptive probation was sold across the State upon the condition that local counseling services would be provided to help get meth and opiate addicts back on the wagon. Law enforcement swallowed a hard pill, but were assured that the State would definitely get the counseling services going. Instead nothing has happened other than meth and opiate addicts don’t go to jail, don’t get counseling services, and keep re-offending. Take a look at the stats. 24/7 bond failures and probation failures are through the roof. We got a AAA rating, but at what cost?

    Reply
  5. Anne Beal

    I am more worried about what will happen to the kids who belong in juvie, but under presumptive probation will now be expelled from school when they are 16. How is that going to work?

    Maybe the people who want to keep presumptive probation would like the drop out age lowered to 14.

    Reply
  6. Anon44

    Why is a release from the ACLU headlining my favorite conservative political blog without any critical questioning? Why is AFP opposing the repeal of the infamous SB70? “Saving” a buck or two seems to have arranged for some interesting bedfellows. I place the savings comment in quotes because the taxpayers are still footing the bills for the offenses covered by SB70. The only people who are “saving” anything are the people who are so heavily invested in seeing their justice reform efforts succeed. Justice reform is not working in South Dakota. It isn’t working for the simple fact that the miserly Daugaard administration NEVER reinvested all the shamelessly promoted “savings” back into the component of the equation that would make the reform work: rehabilitation. One of the big sales pitches from those promoting the bill of goods the legislature and the public bought into was the “savings” to the DOC budget. Ultimately these “savings” were paid for by the counties and the taxpayers anyway with the cost shifting that has occurred. County jail populations have soared with addicted offenders who pose a risk to themselves and the community. The community based treatment programs that were promised are almost nonexistent. The taxpayers who continue to pay for these failed efforts should be livid. Instead, the shell game continues. The repeal of SB70 is only a starting place in the effort to address the issues that are affecting our public safety.

    Judges are often locked in a sometimes deadly game of catch and release with addicted offenders who know they face no serious consequences for their continued violations of probation and state law. Does anyone here really believe that the procurement and use of methamphetamine and other controlled substances are “victimless” offenses that have no societal costs? The family members, employers, friends, children, and victims of the incidental crimes these offenders commit would beg to differ with that position. These dangerous substances have wrought untold damage to our communities and (most under-reported) our reservations.

    The repeal of SB 70 will not cost the taxpayers $53 million dollars as projected by LRC (based upon numbers provided by the opponents to the repeal). We are all paying for this epidemic. Judges are best suited to determine which offenders belong where. There isn’t a judge in this State that believes for one second that the penitentiary is a suitable sentencing option for a first time drug offender. The problem lies with the offender who is completely unamenable to the programing that is offered and makes no efforts to comply with supervised probation. Give the courts the discretion they need to address those offenders with a penitentiary sentence. Our communities deserve protection from offenders who make no effort to utilize the programing we have available for them.

    Reply
  7. Tim Van Berkum

    Back when the dropout age was 16 and a kid dropped out, they were more likely to find out the grass isn’t greener on the other side and come back to school and apply themselves. Also most of their friends were still in school and they weren’t too far behind in credits.
    At 18, they are so far behind and have probably just been occupying a chair, that a school is unlikely to get them back to finish their education after they drop out.. Now we’ve lost them and they may wind up on public assistance

    Reply
    1. Anne Beal

      Dr Benjamin Spock is credited with the statement to wit: “children don’t drop out at 16; they drop out at 6 and wait ten years to make it official.”

      Why not let them drop out at 6? Why have any compulsory education at all? Just asking….

      Reply
  8. John

    So the ACLU and the Defense lawyers and Trial Lawyers are against it but all of the law enforcement agencies that actually deal with this problem are FOR SB 19. Tells it all.

    Get rid of this horrible law; our counties are suffering BIG TIME!

    Reply
    1. Tim Begalka

      My thoughts exactly. If the trial lawyers and ACLU are against it, it has to be good. These “first time offenders” (or first time caught) are not going to jail or getting treatment, they are often re-offending. This is a big reason why we have a big drug problem. No teeth- just a slap on the wrist and probation. Whatever it is, jail or serious treatment, is going to cost money, so if they’re dealing drugs- confiscate their profits and use that to help pay for it.

      Reply
      1. Kelly Lieberg

        The AFP supports it for work release jobs. Depressing the wages of the labor pool. Also, if the American’s for Prosperity were a true grassroots organization, the Koch’s wouldn’t be providing meals, they would be potluck events.

        Reply
      2. Tara Volesky

        I believe one reason for our major drug problem is the breakdown of the family unit. Notice it’s seems like we always want government to cure our problems. It starts at home with individual responsibility. Instead of pushing foster care, jail, juvenile facilities, treatment centers, pills, etc., maybe let’s get back to the basics and let families, local communities religious organizations and non-profits deal with it on a local level.

        Reply
    1. Tara Volesky

      How’s the recidivism rate with jail working? It doesn’t matter, a person is only going to quit when he wants to. The war on drugs keeps getting bigger and bigger. A total failure.

      Reply
  9. SDGOPer

    Noem is correct that this issue needs to be considered more thoughtfully. We need to figure out better solutions for treatment and rehabilitation. The premise of presumptive probation is that the users are better off getting treatment than going to jail. I think that is absolutely correct. The problem is that we are not putting them in jail AND not figuring out a solution for their addiction. Repealing presumptive probation and throwing them in jail just goes back to the same problem we had before.

    Reply
    1. Anne Beal

      Ask addicts and alcoholics in recovery and they’ll tell you they had to hit rock bottom before they figured it out, and for a lot of them rock bottom was incarceration. Presumptive probation is a soft landing. Just having a lot of counseling services available doesn’t work unless they understand they need it.

      Reply
  10. Charlie Hoffman

    In 2013 then AG Jackley supported the bill encompassing PP along with a house full of legal Eagles. Not having enough State funds to build another prison one of the talking points. Our current AG Ravnsborg wants to see the end of PP for numerous reasons. Pass the bill allowing our AG to do his job and let the chips fall where they may until the next legislative session.

    Reply
    1. Anne Beal

      I agree Charlie, repeal Presumptive Probation, keep education compulsory until age 18 for another year or so, see what happens.

      Presumptive probation sounded like a good idea but I never imagined it would lead to educators clamoring to expel kids from school.

      Reply
  11. Anonymous

    The best laid plans …that is what SB 70 was…but it has NOT worked and shifted the cost to the counties….with little help for users/addicts…

    VOTE YES ON SB 19

    Reply
      1. Miranda Gohn

        That is part of the Drug Policy Alliance which is funded by a few billionaires like George Soros which has a goal of legalizing not only recreational Marijuana nationwide but all drugs. George Soros and a few others profit and we which includes family members, businesses, and taxpayers pay the costs. They may use Portugal as an example but the drug culture is very different in the US where it is glorified vs Europe.

        Reply
  12. Anonymous

    word is the opponents are pushing to have a vote Friday when some members will be gone and weather is a factor….disgusting

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I’ll tell you what is disgusting, our elected officials not being present on Friday to vote. What are they being paid for?

    Reply
  14. Charlie Hoffman

    At what point do landowners revolt to the continuous increases in property taxes is the question. If Capital Outlay is splayed wide open the point becomes a surgical wound most certainly found unacceptable in current tax structure. At that time certain measures for an income tax become relevant. Consequences of inaction then become reality. Janklow pushed gambling revenue into property tax reduction to stem the last revolt. What short term funds does our current Governor have to stem this elephant in the closet? Dunno but it’s coming to a head soon.

    Reply

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