UPDATE: Senate Bill 143 was killed in the Senate.
Senate Bill 143 would reduce the penalty for ingestion of a controlled substance from a class 5 or 6 felony to a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first or second offense.
We support Senate Bill 143 because South Dakota is one of only a few states that criminalized ingestion alone. Reducing the penalties for ingestion is one more step toward divesting from the system of mass incarceration.
So, why should South Dakota change ingestion from a felony to a misdemeanor?
It’ll save the state money.
- With Senate Bill 143, the estimated total prison and jail savings would be: $3,422,471 in the first year and $34,224,710 over ten years
It’ll save time.
- The average time served in prison for these offenses is currently 240 days. The average time served in prison for those sent to prison for Class 6 felonies is 187 days to first release.
- The average time served in jail for these offenses is currently 122 days. The average time served in jail for Class 1 misdemeanors is 12 days and for Class 6 felonies is 174 days.
It’ll improve South Dakota’s reputation.
- South Dakota is one of the only states in the nation that classifies ingestion as a felony which essentially criminalizes addiction
- South Dakota’s Incarceration rate is higher than the United States as a whole, 855 vs 698 people per 100,000 (in 2018): prison policy initative SD profile