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Half of SD's prison inmates re-offend within 3 years of release

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

PIERRE -- Nearly half of the inmates released from state prisons in South Dakota from 2003 through 2008 found their way back behind bars again within three years, according to a report that has been delivered to Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

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The report further shows that one-fourth of the inmates released from 2003 through 2010 re-offended within the first 12 months.

The issue was scheduled for discussion today by a state panel called the Governor's Re-entry Council, which was formed in 2009 to look for ways to reduce the frequency of inmates who re-offend.

State Corrections Secretary Dennis Kaemingk is holding to the goal set by his predecessor to cut first-year recidivism in half, to 15.6 percent, before 2017.

The first-year rates of re-offending were 31.2 percent for 2008 releases, 28.7 percent for 2009 and 25.9 percent for 2010. The 2010 rate was better than the target of 28.1 percent that was set as part of the long-range reduction plan.

Kaemingk, a Mitchell resident, warns in the report to the governor however that inmates released in 2011 seem to be re-offending at a higher rate again.

There was a pattern of increasing numbers of parole violations month by month, especially toward the end of 2011.

The monthly average for parole violations was 54 in 2010 and 62 in 2011.

Kaemingk said the increases in parole violations have contributed to the larger populations of male and female inmates in the state prisons.

The men's population stood at a daily average count of 3.076 in December, the sixth-highest monthly number in three years. The men's count had been as low as 2,970 as recently as February 2011.

The women's population was at a modern high of 434 in December.

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