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OUR VIEW: Hisses and Cheers

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HISSES to the decades-long, wrongheaded approach to crime that led South Dakota to have -- according to a report this week -- the 16th highest incarceration rate in the world, with no nations and only U.S. states above South Dakota on the list. On the other hand, CHEERS to our current governor and legislators, who smartly reacted last year to the problem of rising prison populations not with a simplistic eye-for-an-eye mentality, but with a thoughtful overhaul of the state criminal justice system that is keeping more nonviolent offenders out of prison and instead on closely monitored parole and probation. Thanks to that legislation, we expect to see South Dakota's incarceration rate drop.

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CHEERS to the community of Letcher, which is showing great spirit and commitment to the future with an effort to build a $200,000 addition to its fire hall and community center. About $32,000 is in hand already, and another $25,000 is pledged if the Letcher Community Foundation can raise $50,000. We wish the fundraisers luck.

HISSES to whomever vandalized Graceland Cemetery. Last week, local police reported the vandals damaged several gravesites and memorials, including solar-powered lights and other objects. The total damage is valued at approximately $1,500. There aren't many acts lower than vandalizing a cemetery, and we hope the suspects are apprehended and made to pay for the damage. They should also apologize to the people whose loved one's graves were disrespected.

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