Three chiefs of police, including Madison Police Chief Justin Meyer, told the state Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday that repeat drug offenders are causing a spike in crime in the state, and often violent crimes. They also said the current ways of dealing with drug offenders are not working, with too little prison space and too few drug addiction rehabilitation resources.
Madison Police Chief Meyer said many issues stem from adult justice reforms passed in 2013.
Rapid City Police Chief Don Hedrick said changes in the juvenile justice system often fail to deter juvenile offenders.
Assistant Sioux Falls Police Chief Nick Cook said taking judges out of the process where juvenile offenders should be placed is a problem.
The three law enforcement officials agreed that there needs to be more incarceration for drug users and more options for rehabilitation.
January 20, 2023
Todd Epp, South Dakota Broadcasters Association, contributed this report.