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Broadcaster Press 9 March 27, 2018 www.broadcasteronline.com SD’s Juvenile Justice System By Gov. Dennis Daugaard It has been three years since we reformed South Dakota’s juvenile justice system. When the legislation was passed, South Dakota had the second highest juvenile incarceration rate in the country. It was nearly three times the national average. At the same time, our juvenile violent crime arrest rate was approximately one-third of the national average. We were locking up primarily nonviolent juvenile offenders. Since this law has been in effect, we are seeing fewer juveniles committed, fewer juveniles reoffending, and success among those who are sent to functional family therapy. Since Fiscal Year 2014, new commitments to the Department of Corrections have declined 56 percent and the number of recommitments has declined by two-thirds. Additionally, functional family therapy, which offers treatment for the entire family to address juvenile issues, is available in every single community in South Dakota. To date, 346 families have successfully completed this therapy and 88 percent of these families have reported a positive change as a result. These reforms still support institutionalization of children who pose a risk of harm to others. Our system has always allowed for that, and the juvenile reforms did not change that. A juvenile who commits a violent crime can be committed to the Department of Corrections, and a judge can also commit a child who is found to pose a serious risk of violence. Reserving commitments to cases of violence is in line with the national trend. Juvenile commitments to state-run facilities have been falling in almost every state in the nation over the past 18 years. Nationwide, placements fell from 40,678 in 1997 to 13,970 in 2013. In South Dakota they fell from 315 to 102, even before the 2015 passage of juvenile justice reforms. The statutory purpose of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, and we must never lose that focus. I spent 20 years working at Children’s Home Society, which operates institutions for children who have suffered abuse and neglect. Often these children have behavioral problems. At Children’s Home, our priority was always to do whatever we could to return children to their families, or if that was not possible, to a foster family or adoptive family. I know that juvenile offenders can be difficult, but we need to remain focused on what is best for them. Locking up children because they are difficult to deal with is not acceptable. Putting a child in an institution, away from the community, is incredibly disruptive to the life of a child. Beyond violent cases, we must continue to build our capacity to treat children in their communities – near their homes, families and schools – whenever possible. For most children, this offers the greatest chance of true rehabilitation. GFP Reminds Individuals That Gray Wolves Remain Protected In South Dakota PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) wants to remind individuals that gray wolves remain protected under the federal Endangered Species Act across the entire state. This federal protection has been in place since 2014. Over the years, South Dakota has had gray wolves incidentally killed on both sides of the Missouri River. South Dakota does not have suitable habitat to maintain a population of wolves. Transient wolves from surrounding states have been documented traveling through South Dakota, but are very uncommon. Sportsmen and women as well as fur harvesters are reminded that gray wolves may occur in South Dakota and need to exercise caution if they believe a gray wolf is in the area. Hunters need to clearly identify their target before using their firearms when hunting coyotes. If a suspected wolf is in a trap, individuals should contact GFP officials immediately. The federal protections of the Endangered Species Act prohibit the take of a gray wolf unless it is threatening human life. GFP does not have any plans or intentions of facilitating the establishment of gray wolves in South Dakota. If livestock producers have concerns with a suspected wolf near their operation, they should contact a local GFP wildlife damage specialist or regional office. If the livestock loss is determined to have been possibly killed by a gray wolf, the department will work directly with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address the situation. For more information or to learn more about identifying gray wolves and coyotes, please visit gfp.sd.gov/ wolf. Board Adopts New Content Standards In Several Subject Areas PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Board of Education Standards adopted new academic content standards in the following subject areas at its meeting March 19: • Capstone courses • Career and technical education (business management & administration; government & public administration; hospitality & tourism; marketing; transportation, distribution & logistics) • English language arts • Health education • Math • Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards “Content standards provide educators a roadmap for what students should know and be able to do,” said Becky Nelson, director of learning and instruction for the South Dakota Department of Education. “Like a roadmap, standards allow for both consistency and flexibility. The goal is that all students get from point A to point B in their learning, but each local school district chooses the curriculum and instructional materials it will use to help students meet those standards.” State law requires that the Board of Education Standards review academic content standards on a cyclical basis. In addition, the board is required to host four public hearings as part of the standards review process. Today’s standards adoption came after the conclusion of the fourth public hearing on these content standards. The standards were developed by work groups, whose members consisted of K-12 educators, postsecondary representatives, business and industry representatives, and other key stakeholders, including parents. Information on the newly adopted standards can be found at http://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/review. aspx. The complete South Dakota Standards Revision and Adoption Timeline is available on the South Dakota Department of Education website. 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