Improving Criminal Justice Responses for Persons with Mental Illness

In 2016, Chief Justice David Gilbertson and Governor Daugaard formed task force in order to examine the issues surrounding people with mental illness entering the criminal justice system. Funded by a generous grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, legislation that came as a result of this task force was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Daugaard on March 15, 2017.

Original Goals of the Task Force

  1. To improve public safety and the treatment of people with mental illness in contact with the criminal justice system through appropriate evaluation, intervention, diversion, and supervision.
  2. To more effectively identify mental illness in people coming into contact with the criminal justice system, through improved training in local criminal justice systems, better use of screening tools and skills, and expanded response and diversion options in communities for law enforcement and the courts, all while holding offenders and government more accountable.
  3. To better allocate limited local resources in order to improve early intervention services and preserve limited jail and prison resources for violent, chronic, and career criminals.

A copy of the Task Force report may be found Here.