Unresolved: Tough-on-crime bills, prison funding
Big week coming in criminal justice legislation
PIERRE – Left unresolved in the final two weeks of the legislative session are funding bills to spend more than a half-billion dollars on new prisons, and tough-on-crime bills that would fill those prisons.
Three bills in particular, Senate Bill 146 and House Bills 1160 and 1170, would enhance criminal penalties, with some lawmakers convinced that criminal justice reforms undertaken a decade ago have not worked. This comes amid high-profile violent crimes committed by parolees and public calls from law enforcement officials and local elected leaders to make it harder to get parole.
Rep. Chris Karr, a Sioux Falls Republican who is the sponsor of House Bills 1160 and 1170, said the bills were inspired by the death of his grandmother, Donna Karr. She was walking home May 14, 2021 from a friend’s after playing Scrabble when she was hit by a drunk driver. That driver had already been convicted of nine other DUIs, as well as other felony convictions.
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