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Pregnant Mitchell teen sent to prison

A pregnant Mitchell woman was sentenced to 90 days in the South Dakota State Women’s Prison for a drug conviction.

Tessa Claussen, 19, was sentenced Tuesday during court at the Davison County Public Safety Center.

“So, I’ll have my baby in prison?” Claussen asked Judge Tim Bjorkman.

“It appears that way,” he replied.

Claussen pleaded guilty in November to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

When Claussen was arrested in August, she admitted to smoking marijuana just a half-hour prior to being stopped by police. Later she complained about not feeling well and being pregnant, said Assistant Attorney General Katie Mallery.

Claussen was caught with 15 individual baggies of marijuana in her possession that day. Mallery said that was an obvious sign she intended to distribute the drug.

Claussen addressed the court, saying she felt changed and wanted to move forward and be a good mom.

“You’re very young, but your conduct is reprehensible,” Bjorkman said. “You want to be a good mom, but think of all the moms out there trying to keep their children from the very drugs you were pushing.”

She began serving the prison time immediately Tuesday.

Her full sentence includes three years in prison that were suspended with conditions: She must pay $104 in court costs and $89.20 in prosecution costs; repay court-appointed attorney fees; spend three years on probation; enroll in and comply with the 24/7 Sobriety program; not consume, possess or be around alcohol and drugs; not participate or be around gambling; complete any evaluation, counseling or treatment directed by court services; and obtain and maintain a job.