South Dakota capitol building

The Crime and Justice Institute is delighted to be continuing its work in South Dakota by providing technical assistance to the newly formed Task Force on Community Justice and Mental Illness Early Intervention.

The work is funded generously by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The Task Force will examine how individuals with mental illness come into contact with law enforcement and move through the court system, county jails, and probation in South Dakota; consider evidence-based and promising practices and successful reforms from other jurisdictions; and develop tailored policy options to more appropriately respond to mental illness as early as possible.

“Mental illness and substance use issues are often overlooked and underserved conditions, especially in rural areas,” said Walter Panzirer, trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “By researching and studying existing municipal or county models across the U.S. and adapting them for a rural, statewide population, South Dakota has the opportunity to provide a model that can be replicated by other states.”

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