Helping leaders and citizens make good decisions about justice facilities.

Courthouses and jails are important to our system of justice. Both the US and South Dakota constitutions tell us that our Nation and State exist to “establish justice.” In other words, our democratic way of life depends upon a functional system of justice.  Courthouses and jails enable justice to function, because they are the places where much of the due process of law happens.  According to state law, Counties in South Dakota are responsible to provide adequate court and jail facilities.

The Codington County Justice Advisory Committee (CCJAC) exists to examine the issues surrounding the County’s legal responsibility to provide adequate jail and court space.

  • Adequate jail space means that the County’s jail space is sized and constructed to handle the correct number of inmates safely and humanely.
  • Adequate court space means that the County provides its share of courtroom and office space to secure our constitutional right to a speedy trial, while ensuring the courthouse is a safe place for legal proceedings and other public business.

By examining the issues surrounding this, the CCJAC is able to:

  • make reports and recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners,
  • help the public stay informed about these issues.

 Request for Proposals for Bond Counsel Services

Quick Info Links & Public Awareness Videos

  • Historical Background of our current situation

  • Why do counties need to provide courthouses and jails? (click the video window below)

  • What process is the county using to find a solution?


  • How is cost estimated?


  • Why house inmates from other counties?


  • How are my property taxes distributed?


  • How might my property taxes be impacted?

Committee Members

Voting Members:

Megan Olson

Larry Wasland

Al Koistenen

Greg Endres

Sheriff  Brad Howell

Commissioner Troy VanDusen

Commissioner Lee Gabel (Chair)

Non-voting Members:

The Honorable Robert Spears

Chief Corrections Officer Tom Walder


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Why is the county still working on the jail and courthouse after the failed vote in 2014?

A: The county is obligated to address the problems we have with the jail and courthouse.

          • South Dakota state law requires counties to provide adequate court and jail facilities (SD codified laws: 16-6-7, 16-12A-29.1, 24-11-2, and 24-11-23).
          • Since both the jail & courthouse are inadequate in terms of security and size, the county is obligated, by law, to address this problem.

Q: Why don’t we use ankle monitors to reduce the jail population?

A:  The county uses and looks for more effective alternatives to incarceration that prevent an offender from committing more crimes. Ankle monitors are less effective at preventing an offender from committing more crimes.

          • Currently the county uses a more effective incarceration alternative for drug and alcohol offenders: the 24/7 program.
            • 24/7 provides person-to-person interaction & verification of behavior. Offenders have to check in with jail staff at frequent intervals.
            • Since implementing 24/7 in 2007, jail population grows more slowly.
            • The number of people on the 24/7 program usually exceeds the jail population.
          • The county is working on more ways to reduce pre-trial confinement without compromising public safety.  The goal is keep people awaiting trial out of jail as long as they aren’t a risk to public safety and are likely to show up for trial.  This will need to be a county/court solution.
          • That said, ankle monitors may be appropriate as an alternative to some types of juvenile detention.  The county is looking into this possibility.

You can click on the Q & A recording for the June 28th, 2016 Public Presentation to hear this question addressed. It is under “CCJAC Public Presentations” below.

Q: Why do we care about conditions for jail inmates?

A:  The County is responsible for the health and safety of jail inmates. This doesn’t mean that jails should be comfortable.  It does mean that they must be safe and humane.  Courts have found jurisdictions (like states & counties) liable when conditions are too crowded, unsafe or unsanitary. Courts have based most of these decisions on the 4th, 8th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution:

          • 4th Amendment and the right to privacy. Inmates must have reasonable privacy
          • 8th Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Jail conditions cannot constitute cruel or unusual punishment. Numerous court decisions have placed specific requirements on jails, to include floor space minimums in some situations.
          • 14th Amendment, which prohibits taking away someone’s freedom without due process. This is especially important for pre-trial incarceration. Inmates have a right to access the legal system. This means jails should have multipurpose space (known as jail “program” space), attorney client space, & access to legal library resources.

Click the play button below to listen to Sheriff Wishard, Jail Consultant Allen Brinkman and Architect Bruce Schwartzman answer this question.

Q: Why can’t we remodel or expand the old jail?

A: We are looking at this possibility, but …

          • It would be very expensive and difficult to use the current jail as a future jail.
          • The current location of the jail limits expandability in the future.
          • Whether we can use the current jail building for something else (not a jail) remains to be seen.
          • According to the architect that designed the current jail, it is not constructed to accept another story.
            • Adding a floor would be expensive and would probably require further extensive modification in the future.
            • A jail on multiple stories is difficult and more expensive to run. We have this problem currently, because we’ve had to add cell space in our current jail’s basement.

You can click on the Q & A recording for the June 28th, 2016 Public Presentation to hear this question addressed. It is under “CCJAC Public Presentations” below.


CCJAC Public Presentations

Please check often as meeting details can change!

CCJAC Meeting Minutes

Upcoming CCJAC Meetings & Agendas

          • April 4th, 2016 – 6:10 PM Pre-Design Meeting, Lake Area Technical Institute, Room 430
          • Please check often as meeting details can change!



The County Commissioners have instructed the CCJAC to carry out four basic tasks (shown below).The results of this work are shown in the reports linked under each task. These reports are posted as they are completed. The CCJAC is currently focused on the second task.  Key documents are in bold type.

(1) Review the work done prior to the election in November 2014 to determine the need for further analysis.

(2) Further analyze or recommend ways to obtain needed analysis. This is intended to assess the need for court and jail space into the future.

Jail Analysis

Court Analysis

(3) Recommend criteria to use in evaluating options to resolve court and jail space needs. This will include such things as minimum space (type and size) requirements, construction costs, operating costs and efficiency. These will be developed from information gathered in the second task.

(4) Recommend options for resolving court and jail space needs. This will develop options to meet Codington County’s justice space needs. The criteria from the third task will be used to screen and compare these options.

Learning about possible options

       Developing options

Exploring Options for Cooperating with other Counties


CCJAC Origination Documents

Court & Jail Space Needs Information (assembled before creation of CCJAC)


Useful links

3rd Judicial Circuit

South Dakota Codified Laws

Title 16:  Courts

Chapter 24-11:  Jails

Standards, Best Practices – Courts

US Courts Design Guide

National Center for State Courts’ Guidelines for Best Practices In Court Security

National Center for State Courts’ Steps to Best Practices for Court Building Security

National Sheriff’s Association Courthouse Security Checklist

National Center for State Courts Planning and Design Guide for Court Facilities

National Center for State Courts report on Courthouse Violence 2010-2012

Michigan Court Planning and Design Guide

Standards, Best Practices – Jails

National Institute of Corrections’ Jail Design Guide

American Corrections Association Core Jail Standards (linked from