Pennington County in western South Dakota is the site of Mount Rushmore. Its county seat is Rapid City, the state’s second-largest city, and it is close to four Indian reservations, including the immense Pine Ridge reservation of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, which is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
The Safety and Justice Challenge effort in Pennington County is co-led by the Pennington County Sheriff and the 7th Judicial Circuit Court of South Dakota, which sits in Rapid City but encompasses Pennington and three neighboring counties. These and other Pennington County stakeholders have a rich history of collaboration in connection with a DUI/Drug Court program, a Behavioral Health Collaborative, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and the Rapid City Second Chance Offender Reentry program. They will be seeking to make local changes against the backdrop of a recently enacted state law, the South Dakota Public Safety Improvement Act (SB 70), aimed at reducing the number of inmates in the State Department of Corrections.