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Daugaard: STAR Academy juvenile facility to close in April

PIERRE (AP) -- A state-run juvenile corrections facility near Custer that has seen a significant decline in population in recent years is going to be shut down in April, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Wednesday.

PIERRE (AP) - A state-run juvenile corrections facility near Custer that has seen a significant decline in population in recent years is going to be shut down in April, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Wednesday.

The average daily population of youth in STAR Academy programs has dropped precipitously from 166 in budget year 2007, Daugaard said in a statement. Likewise, the juvenile population under the Department of Corrections' jurisdiction has been cut in half over the last decade, he said.

An overhaul of the state's juvenile justice system approved by lawmakers last legislative session that is aimed at decreasing the number of youth offenders in state-sponsored care is expected to contribute to that trend, Daugaard said.

The governor's office says about $6 million has been allocated under the overhaul to juvenile community-based programs across South Dakota. The programs are meant to allow youth offenders to stay in their communities while addressing issues such as drug abuse, anti-social tendencies and family challenges.

The overhaul shifts priorities toward committing only violent and more serious offenders and using diversion options for others.

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The 64 employees working at the academy were given layoff notices. Some staff members are expected to remain into June to finish up administrative and security duties for closing the campus.

 

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