Secretary Kellie Wasko testify in front of Senate Judiciary Committee

PIERRE, S.D.(KJJQ)- The Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Corrections says the state needs new facilities.

Governor Noem has proposed some $400 million in expenditures for new prisons in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

Kellie Wasko spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning. She says new facilities are needed to deal with both overcrowding and violent offenders.

Secretary Wasko knows that new prisons won’t be built immediately.

Wasko says the new prisons will also likely require some additional staffing.

The South Dakota Secretary of Corrections says recruiting new correctional officers in Sioux Falls is improving, but retention is still an issue.
That’s according to Sec. Kellie Wasco, who spoke to the House Judiciary Committee Friday morning.
Over the past couple of years, Wasco says starting pay for correctional officers has increased from about $17 an hour to $23.50 an hour.
She says 21 new correctional officers trainees are going through the corrections academy to work in the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls.