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South Dakota starts work on new women's prison
Rapid City complex will be 288-bed, minimum custody facility
South Dakota broke ground on its new prison this week.
No. Not the behemoth that will be the new men’s prison in Lincoln County. Rather, work on a $60-million complex that will house female prisoners on the other end of the state kicked off Monday.
A formal ceremony held at the 20-acre site — 1056 North Creek Drive — in northeast Rapid City marked the start of construction on what will be a 288-bed facility.
Slated to open in 2026, the South Dakota Department of Corrections’ Rapid City Female Correctional Facility is aimed at relieving capacity challenges at the Women’s Prison in Pierre and will feature addiction services that the existing women’s prison lacks.
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It’s designed to absorb future prison population estimates and with nationally recognized standards published by the American Correctional Association, according to a memo by Corrections Secretary Kellie Wasko provided to The Dakota Scout.
“The construction of a women’s prison facility in Rapid City will allow the Women’s Prison in Pierre to decrease capacity to a safe, manageable level while providing the necessary space for future bed projections,” the memo reads.
A Level III facility, it will entail wall or double perimeter fencing with razor wire and detection devices, a controlled sally port and a continuously patrolled perimeter.
DOC spokesman Michael Winder said the Rapid City prison will primarily house minimum custody inmates, but will also be equipped to handle medium custody inmates should there be overflow of offenders at the Women’s Prison in Pierre.
“They will now do soil testing, etc. on the property,” Winder said in an email. “We could see construction start in early 2024. We are hoping to have it open by late 2025 or early 2026.”
Companies contracted to aid in the design and construction of the Rapid City Female Correctional Facility are Architecture Incorporated, CGL, HDR, Skull Construction and Flintco.