Minnehaha County near South Dakota’s southeastern border is the state’s most-populous county. The County is known for its ability to develop cross-collaborative leadership partnerships to produce positive outcomes. The local governments are poised to make significant change through several substantive initiatives to better address social and behavioral issues within the community and ultimately, impact drug addiction, juvenile justice, and affordable housing, to name a few.
Minnehaha County, with leadership from partner agencies and departments, convened a local juvenile justice collaboration that reduced utilization of the juvenile detention center while re-investing dollars to support community-based programming including a youth reception center, evening report center, shelter care, and community supervision.
With support from the MacArthur Foundation’s Innovation Funding, an inter-agency collaboration produced a concept plan to implement a Community Triage Center and a comprehensive baseline report to track all progress and community impacts.
To build on past efforts, Minnehaha County was awarded $700,000 from the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2018 to implement strategies to continue building partnerships between the justice system and the community to improve outcomes for local residents. This new round of funding will provide Minnehaha County and partners with additional support and expert technical assistance to implement strategies to address justice system practices that affect the target populations of people with mental health and substance abuse issues, people of color, and those with long lengths of stay in jail.
Implementing a data-driven decision-making process is critical to achieve results. One of the positive outcomes is a safe reduction of the jail population that includes the target populations listed above. Minnehaha County developed a comprehensive plan focused on developing a continuum of responses and furthering community-based collaboration at each justice system decision point.
Key strategies and initiatives achieve meaningful collaboration with the community and create a safer, more effective system. These efforts revolve around pre-arrest and pretrial strategies, improving case processing efficiency, community engagement, and enhancing services for people with mental illness or substance abuse issues involved with the justice system.