South Dakota has one type of short-term confinement facility in the state called jails. There are sixty-six local county jails in South Dakota. There is a county jail in each of the counties throughout the state. Each local county jail holds pretrial detainees, people arrested for public ordinance violations, and inmates who were sentenced to short terms in jail rather than prison.
The local Sheriff’s Office is the law enforcement agency in charge of local county jails, supervising inmates, and maintaining all South Dakota county jail inmate records. Most have websites of their own with an inmate roster or locator feature so the public can conduct a South Dakota county jail inmate search at any time of day or night.
South Dakota jails offer inmates a library for reading, visitation from family and friends, educational programs, and healthcare services. Some inmates are allowed to participate in work-release programs. Inmates are allowed to receive mail and packages and make phone calls during specified periods.
South Dakota jails date back before 1881 and statehood. The first penitentiary was built in 1882, and local jail inmates were moved there. Before the prison was built, all long-term and short-term inmates were kept in local jails.
Today’s South Dakota jails have been modernized and include electronic surveillance, indoor and outdoor recreation areas, and visiting areas. For example, the Minnehaha County jail was renovated in 2018 and now offers 720 secure beds. They completely updated the intake and release areas, medical wing, administrative areas, and master control section. Their mission statement reads: “The Minnehaha County Jail shall provide safe, secure housing of inmates and continued public safety.” They support this mission through some guiding principles, including:
There are about 1,700 people incarcerated in South Dakota jails. Fourteen percent of them are female, the rest male. Forty-three percent of inmates in jail were arrested due to violent crimes like aggravated assault, murder, and sexual offenses.