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South Dakota governor signs mental health reform bill into law

Pierre, SD – On March 15, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed HB 1183 into law. This bill is the result of eight months of study by Chief Justice David Gilbertson and his Task Force on Community Justice and Mental Illness Early Intervention. The 22-member task force examined how people with mental illness come into contact with and move through the criminal justice system, and how South Dakota could better address issues facing people with mental illness and equip law enforcement, communities and the courts with tools to address these issues.

The Crime and Justice Institute, through the generous support of the Helmsley Charitable Trust, provided technical assistance to the task force and helped turn the group’s recommendations into legislation.

HB 1183:

  • Provides tools to law enforcement and communities to address mental health crises early and prevent jail admissions;
  • Expedites the completion of competency exams ensuring speedier court processing and shorter jail stays;
  • Strengthens opportunities to divert people from the criminal justice system into mental health treatment;
  • Improves access to treatment of those with mental illness in criminal justice system through training and studying treatment options; and
  • Requires stakeholders to continue to identify ways to improve criminal justice responses for those with mental illness.

To read the full press release, click here.

To see Gov. Daugaard talk about the bill, click here.