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Legislators want private facilities to report their juvenile complaints

PIERRE -- A state law that requires the state Department of Corrections to report complaints about treatment of juveniles should be expanded to cover private facilities used by the department, the state Senate decided Monday.

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South Dakota State Capitol

PIERRE - A state law that requires the state Department of Corrections to report complaints about treatment of juveniles should be expanded to cover private facilities used by the department, the state Senate decided Monday.

The legislation calls for the department to compile confidential reports of all allegations of abuse and neglect and file twice per year to the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee.

"This is just putting into code, while we're talking about juvenile corrections, a current practice," Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, said.

The original reporting law came in 2000 in response to the death of Gina Score while in custody at the Plankinton boot camp in 1999 and repeated difficulties in the months after.

The 2000 law called for appointment of a juvenile monitor who was independent of the corrections department and would investigate complaints. The monitor worked under the state Department of Human Services.

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During the current Daugaard administration the corrections department has closed all of its youth facilities and now uses private contractors.

No one spoke Monday against expanding the mandatory reports to cover the private facilities. The vote was 33-0. SB 82 now goes to the House of Representatives for a hearing.

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