The site selected for the new South Dakota State Penitentiary in Lincoln County. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Landowners sue to put prison site in front of county zoning board

BY: - November 6, 2023

The state should ask for Lincoln County’s permission before building a new prison there, according to a lawsuit from a group of landowners. The lawsuit was filed in Lincoln County late last week by a recently formed group called “Neighbors Opposed to Prison Expansion” — or the acronym NOPE for short — as well as […]

The site selected for the new South Dakota State Penitentiary in Lincoln County. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Tough to evaluate other penitentiary location options without transparency

BY: - October 31, 2023

South Dakota is finally moving forward on the long overdue replacement of its men’s penitentiary near downtown Sioux Falls. It announced a new site and a timeline for the move. However, the process for selecting a replacement site has raised questions and concerns from the public. In recent decades, downtown Sioux Falls has grown into […]

An inmate at the Women's Prison in Pierre works on a block of metal during a precision machining class in 2022. The program is a partnership between the state Department of Corrections, state Department of Labor and Regulations and state technical colleges.

Department of Corrections moves to take over inmate shopping system

BY: - October 16, 2023

Prison inmates in South Dakota who want to buy nearly anything beyond their state-furnished three meals a day can only order from one store: the prison commissary.  For years, the state Department of Corrections has contracted the management of inmate commissary orders and deliveries to private companies, which supply candy bars, cans of tuna, batteries, […]

From left, Pennington County Sheriff Brian Mueller, South Dakota Secretary of Corrections Kellie Wasko and Ryan Brunner, senior policy adviser and director of legislative relations for Gov. Kristi Noem, participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for a women's prison Oct. 16, 2023, in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

State breaks ground on $60 million women’s prison in Rapid City

BY: - October 16, 2023

RAPID CITY — While controversy continues over the site of a proposed new penitentiary near Sioux Falls, the state Department of Corrections is proceeding with a plan to build a new women’s prison on the other side of South Dakota. State officials broke ground for the women’s prison Monday in Rapid City. “I’m very happy […]

The minimum security center of the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, pictured on Feb. 16, 2023. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

State to pay inmate in federal excessive force lawsuit

BY: - September 26, 2023

The state of South Dakota will pay $6,000 to an inmate who represented himself in a lawsuit over his assault by a correctional officer in 2022. The settlement, filed this week in federal court, comes on the heels of a state-level trial at which a jury convicted the officer of simple assault. Shawn Albrecht was […]

The G. Norton Jameson Annex at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

State official says new men’s prison will alleviate health risks during heat events

BY: - July 29, 2023

One inmate at Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield was seen for heat exhaustion this week as temperatures and heat indices pushed near triple digits in much of South Dakota. Most of the inmate housing and work areas within state Department of Corrections facilities are air conditioned, but the former college dorm rooms used as […]

The South Dakota Capitol Rotunda. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Senate panel advances bill to shield jail inmate records from open records requests

BY: - January 17, 2023

A bill that would close the disciplinary records of jail inmates from public view advanced out of the state Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-1 vote Tuesday morning.  Senate Bill 53 closes what its sponsor calls a “loophole” in South Dakota’s open records law. The current law closes disciplinary records for inmates, but defines “inmate” […]

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to supporters on Nov. 7, 2022, in Rapid City. (Kevin Eilbeck for South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem goes against board, victims’ families and review process to reduce prison sentences

BY: - December 30, 2022

When Gov. Kristi Noem reduced seven prisoners’ sentences recently, she overruled the Board of Pardons and Paroles in one case, went against some victims’ family members she hadn’t contacted, and may have violated her own executive order. The governor issued the sentence reductions, called “commutations,” on Christmas Eve. A news release said all seven people […]