Percentage of inmates serving time for drug crimes increases

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The percentage of inmates who are serving time for drug crimes in South Dakota has increased in the last five years.

According to statistics from the Department of Corrections, the percentage of men in South Dakota prisons for drug crimes has increased from 21% in 2014 to 28% in 2019.

Among female inmates, 44% were in prison for drugs in 2014 compared with 64 percent now. The increase happened despite passage of a 2013 criminal justice reform bill that was meant to reduce prison population. The Public Safety Improvement Act included reforms such as issuing sentences of probation instead of prison for most low-level, non-violent felonies including certain drug crimes.

The Rapid City Journal reports that nationally, 14% of male inmates and 25% of female inmates are serving time for drug crimes.