Fewer juvenile offenders behind bars in South Dakota | The Daily Republic

By Associated Press on Sep 5, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

PIERRE (AP) — The state of South Dakota is locking up far fewer juvenile offenders.

New data from the governor's office shows that since juvenile justice reforms were implemented in 2015, the number of juvenile criminals being incarcerated has dropped more than 50 percent.

The Argus Leader reports that in fiscal year 2015, the state committed 205 juveniles to the Department of Corrections. In fiscal 2017, that number dropped to 96. Officials say it's not that fewer children are committing crimes in South Dakota, but rather the threshold for types of crimes that could put them behind bars has been raised.

Five years ago the state had one of the highest juvenile incarceration rates in the country. And that led to the launch of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative.