Does This State Have the Worst Drug Policies in America? [FEATURE]

With endless miles of farmland shading into ever higher and drier terrain as one moves west, crossing the Missouri River and then on to the Badlands and the Black Hills, South Dakota has a certain austere beauty. Not so in its approach to drugs. When it comes to drug policy, it is one of the ugliest places in the country.

South Dakota's Badlands. The state is a pretty bad land for drug users, too. (Creative Commons)
The staunchly conservative state holds the dubious distinction of being the only state to twice defeat a medical marijuana initiative. (Activists are giving it another shot this year -- and a more wishful legalization initiative, too.) And it is being sued by the state ACLU over the forced drug testing of toddlers and arrestees alike.

South Dakota also boasts the nation's only law making ingestion -- not possession -- of a controlled substance a felony, which helps explains the reflex resort to drug testing arrestees: A positive drug test becomes a prosecutable offense. While 10 other states have ingestion laws on the books, none of them makes it a felony.

And now, a new report from the Prison Policy Initiative finds that "South Dakota jails more people per capita than any other state," that almost "half of all arrests are drug or alcohol related, compared to just 29 percent nationally," and that people of color -- in this case, primarily Native Americans -- are disproportionately arrested at a rate far above the national average.

According to the report, South Dakota jailed 2,888 people per 100,000, nearly twice the national average of 1,506, and narrowly edging out Mississippi, which had 2,814 per 100,000. (Other states that jailed more than one out of 50 of their residents were Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.)

But jail is just the gateway to the incarceration complex, and when it comes to long-term stays behind bars, South Dakota displays the same sort of worrying numbers. According to the ACLU of South Dakota, the state's prison population has increased more than five-fold since 1980, a decade after the drug war began. And despite 2013 reforms designed to reduce the prison population, it stubbornly stays near an all-time high reached in 2017.

In fact, new prison admissions spiked upward by 49 percent between 2015 and 2018. These numbers are largely attributable to drug prosecutions, with nearly one in three prisoners doing time for drugs in 2019, up from one in four in 2014.

As the ACLU noted, "This increase was driven almost entirely by a rise in the number of people whose most serious offense was unauthorized ingestion of a controlled substance."

That's right -- South Dakota is spending millions of dollars to incarcerate people not for drug dealing, not even for drug possession, but for having used drugs and still having traces of them in their system.

And it's doing so in an alarmingly racially disproportionate manner. Native Americans make up only 7 percent of the state's population but constitute nearly one-third (31 percent) of the state prison population. Similarly, the state has a tiny African American population (2 percent), but black South Dakotans made up 8 percent of the prison population. The imprisonment rate for both African Americans and Native Americans was seven times that of the state's overwhelmingly white population. For the state's Latino population, the imprisonment rate was twice that of whites.

In a press release last month, the state ACLU reported that it's just as bad in the state's jails, with Native Americans making up roughly half of all jail admissions and accounting for the majority of all drug- and alcohol-related arrests in the state. The group noted that "Native Americans between ages 15 and 64 are incarcerated at 10 times the rate of white people in South Dakota."

"It's time to come to terms with the significant racial disparities that are so ingrained in our criminal legal system," said Libby Skarin, ACLU of South Dakota policy director. "This is not something that can be mitigated by solely reducing the number of arrests in South Dakota. Our elected officials need to acknowledge the realities of these racial disparities and commit to tackling them head-on."

State leaders grasp that there is a problem here. The state legislature has set up an interim study group to examine the state's approach to drug offenses, which met for the first time in August. The group includes legislators, law enforcement, court administrators, the South Dakota attorney general and the secretary of the Department of Corrections, but not public health officials or actual drug users.

The panel heard even more disturbing numbers about drug prosecutions. There were 2,104 people convicted of drug possession statewide so far this year, a more than four-fold increase from 2009, even though drug use levels have remained relatively stable over that period. That is leading panel members to wonder about the role of local prosecutors in generating such large increases in prosecutions.

"Though drug use is undoubtedly a serious issue, we can't incarcerate our way out of addiction," said the ACLU's Skarin. "The enormous amount of money South Dakota spends on jailing people for drug-related offenses is disproportionate and causes more harm than good to individuals struggling with addiction, their families and their communities."

It is for this reason that the ACLU says it is supporting initiatives such as "reclassifying ingestion as a misdemeanor."

Skarin explained, "Reclassifying ingestion as a misdemeanor and investing the resulting savings of state funds in diversion and treatment programs designed to combat addiction would go a long way in helping to solve the underlying problems leading to drug abuse."

Pennington County (Rapid City) public defender Eric Whitcher is on the same page as the state ACLU. He told the interim panel that 73 of his last 100 drug possession cases involved only trace or immeasurable amounts of drugs and that if such cases were not charged as felonies, his office could operate with significantly fewer felony prosecutors.

"We are an outlier," said Whitcher, speaking about South Dakota. "We are creating more felonies for the same conduct than our neighboring states. What impact does that have on their lives?"

Dropping ingestion from a felony to a misdemeanor would be a step in the right direction, but it's an awfully small step. South Dakota has a long, long way to go to get on the right side of drug policy, and no natural beauty can hide that.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

re: thank for share

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed reading this post. big fan, thank you!fireboy and watergirl

It's a good info for the

It's a good info for the american people about the drugs policies. So, you can check <a href="https://casinolife.co.za/review/apollo-slots">https://casinolife.co.za/review/apollo-slots</a> info and get more new casino games for the gamer. Every country should have that policies to save their lives.

sage Support software

Nice and informative articles, I am very glad to read these articles. Please keep posting and keep writing.sage Support

Spin bike reviews 2019

An overarching effort to impose mandatory penalties for federal drug crimes took place in the 1980s. This caused many drug crimes that were common at the time to carry mandatory minimum sentences of 5 to 10 years in a federal prison.

look here Best Indoor cycle

SD Drug Laws Suck

South Dakota is indeed a beautiful state, but yes according to this articlee there drug laws leave a lot to to be desired. 

South Dakota jailed 2,888 people per 100,000, nearly twice the national average of 1,506, and narrowly edging out Mississippi, which had 2,814 per 100,000. (Other states that jailed more than one out of 50 of their residents were Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.)

 

They really need to get there drug laws more mainstream. 

NYC Drug Crime Lawyers Available Today

Rochester Drug Crime Lawyers Available Now!

Queens Drug Possession and Trafficking Lawyers

subeo

I don't know what to say really what you share is so good and helpful to the community, I feel that it makes our community much more developed, thanks. mapquest driving directions

I dont think

I dont think so they This will show how they are addicted to them. The same thing i feel when i was doing the NVQ level 6 qualification 

Call Girls in Gurgaon Call

Call Girls in Gurgaon
Call Girl in Gurgaon
Call Girls Gurgaon
Call Girl Gurgaon
Call Girl Gurgaon Service
Call Girls Gurgaon Service
Call Girl in Gurgaon Service
Call Girls in Gurgaon Service
Best Call Girl Gurgaon
Best Call Girls Gurgaon
VIP Call Girls Gurgaon
VIP Call Girl Gurgaon
Gurgaon Call Girl
Gurgaon Call Girls
Russian Call Girls Gurgaon
Russian Call Girl Gurgaon
Call Girls in Sikanderpur
Call Girl in Sikanderpur
Call Girls Sikanderpur
Call Girl Sikanderpur
Call Girls in Sushant Lok
Call Girl in Sushant Lok
Call Girls Sushant Lok
Call Girl Sushant Lok
Call Girls in MG Road
Call Girl in MG Road
Call Girls MG Road
Call Girl MG Road
Call Girls in Iffco Chowk
Call Girl in Iffco Chowk
Call Girls Iffco Chowk
Call Girl Iffco Chowk
Call Girls in Dwarka
Call Girl in Dwarka
Call Girls Dwarka
Call Girl Dwarka
Call Girls in Haridwar
Call Girl in Haridwar
Call Girls Haridwar
Call Girl Haridwar
Call Girls in Noida
Call Girl in Noida
Call Girls Noida
Call Girl Noida
plumbing company Toronto
plumbing company Mississauga
https://aqualuxdp.ca/
https://www.torontoplumbinggroup.com/
https://shipranoida.in/
https://www.singledate.in/
https://muskangirlsdwarka.in/
https://rishikeshgirls.in/call-girls-in-haridwar/
https://www.singledate.in/

Call girls in Gurgaon | call girls Gurgaon | Gurgaon call girls | Call girl in Gurgaon | call girl Gurgaon | Gurgaon call girl https://www.singledate.in/
https://www.singledate.in/sikanderpur/
https://www.singledate.in/sushant-lok/
https://www.singledate.in/mg-road/
https://www.singledate.in/iffco-chock/
https://www.singledate.in/delhi/
https://www.singledate.in/gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/blog/
https://www.singledate.in/college-call-girls-gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/call-girls-gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/iffco-chock/
https://www.singledate.in/escorts-service-in-gurgaon-with-sexy-call-girls/
https://www.singledate.in/best-call-girls-gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/sikandarpur-hiprofile-escorts/
https://www.singledate.in/best-call-service-in-gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/gurgaon-call-girls-service/
https://www.singledate.in/high-profile-call-girls-in-gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/call-girls-huda-city-center/
https://www.singledate.in/russian-escorts-sikanderpur/
https://www.singledate.in/sikanderpur-call-girls/
https://www.singledate.in/sexy-call-girl-gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/call-center-girls-escort/
https://www.singledate.in/call-girls-mg-road/
https://www.singledate.in/bus-stand-escorts-call-girls/
https://www.singledate.in/call-girls-sikanderpur-gurgaon/
https://www.singledate.in/hudacity-centre-call-girls/
https://shipranoida.in/
https://aqualuxdp.ca/
https://www.torontoplumbinggroup.com/
Call girls in Gurgaon | call girls Gurgaon | Gurgaon call girls | Call girl in Gurgaon | call girl Gurgaon | Gurgaon call girl | Escorts in Gurgaon | Gurgaon Escorts | Escort in Gurgaon | Gurgaon Escort | Call girls service in Gurgaon | call girls service Gurgaon | Gurgaon call girls service | Call girls services in Gurgaon | call girls services Gurgaon | Gurgaon call girls services | Independent Call girls in Gurgaon | Independent call girls Gurgaon | Gurgaon Independent call girls | Independent Call girl in Gurgaon | Independent call girl Gurgaon | Gurgaon Independent call girl | Independent Escorts in Gurgaon | Gurgaon Independent Escorts | Independent Escort in Gurgaon | Gurgaon Independent Escort | Independent Call girls service in Gurgaon | Independent call girls service Gurgaon | Gurgaon Independent call girls service | Independent Call girls services in Gurgaon | Independent call girls services Gurgaon | Gurgaon Independent call girls services | Housewives Call girls in Gurgaon | Housewives call girls Gurgaon | Gurgaon Housewives call girls | Housewives Call girl in Gurgaon | Housewives call girl Gurgaon | Gurgaon Housewives call girl | Housewives Escorts in Gurgaon | Gurgaon Housewives Escorts | Housewives Escort in Gurgaon | Gurgaon Housewives Escort | Housewives Call girls service in Gurgaon | Housewives call girls service Gurgaon | Gurgaon Housewives call girls service | Housewives Call girls services in Gurgaon | Housewives call girls services Gurgaon | Gurgaon Housewives call girls services | High profile Call girls in Gurgaon | High profile call girls Gurgaon | Gurgaon High profile call girls | High profile Call girl in Gurgaon | High profile call girl Gurgaon | Gurgaon High profile call girl | High profile Escorts in Gurgaon | Gurgaon High profile Escorts | High profile Escort in Gurgaon | Gurgaon High profile Escort | High profile Call girls service in Gurgaon | High profile call girls service Gurgaon | Gurgaon High profile call girls service | High profile Call girls services in Gurgaon | High profile call girls services Gurgaon | Gurgaon High profile call girls services | VIP Call girls in Gurgaon | VIP call girls Gurgaon | Gurgaon VIP call girls | VIP Call girl in Gurgaon | VIP call girl Gurgaon | Gurgaon VIP call girl | VIP Escorts in Gurgaon | Gurgaon VIP Escorts | VIP Escort in Gurgaon | Gurgaon VIP Escort | VIP Call girls service in Gurgaon | VIP call girls service Gurgaon | Gurgaon VIP call girls service | VIP Call girls services in Gurgaon | VIP call girls services Gurgaon | Gurgaon VIP call girls services | College Call girls in Gurgaon | College call girls Gurgaon | Gurgaon College call girls | College Call girl in Gurgaon | College call girl Gurgaon | Gurgaon College call girl | College Escorts in Gurgaon | Gurgaon College Escorts | College Escort in Gurgaon | Gurgaon College Escort | College Call girls service in Gurgaon | College call girls service Gurgaon | Gurgaon College call girls service | College Call girls services in Gurgaon | College call girls services Gurgaon | Gurgaon College call girls services

Article Review Writing Services

Custom Article Review Writing Services you secure from the firm are versatile such as Custom Article Review Help and Legitimate Article Review Writing Help and any other form of writing, contact them for assistance.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School