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1st Circuit Graduates 1st Hope Court Participant

05/16/2016

PRESS RELEASE: May 16, 2016 

The Circuit Court in Charles Mix County announces their first graduate from the Hope Probation Supervision Program. Hope Probation was implemented, among other criminal justice reforms, as part of a group of laws that were passed with the Public Safety Improvement Act in 2013, otherwise known as Senate Bill 70.  That law directed the court system to establish several Hope Probation pilot programs throughout the State.  Charles Mix County was designated as a pilot program county, and the program commenced in the later part of 2015.  Recently the legislature passed a bill authorizing Hope Probation implementation statewide. 

 The Hope Probation Program is a forced drug abstinence program that requires probationers, who are convicted of drug-involved crime, to participate in a random drug testing and sanctioning program.  Participants are assigned a random color and are required to call a drug testing hotline every morning.  If their color has been called for the day, they are required to immediately report to the county jail and submit to a drug test.  A positive test results in immediate incarceration, a visit with the judge, and a swift and certain sanction for the violation.  Hope Probation supervision is a six-month program that is a component of a longer probation program.  Because of the random manner in which participants are tested, they are subject to being tested daily.  

Kristopher Keegel (photograph above) is Charles Mix County's first Hope graduate. He was presented with a graduation certificate during a ceremony by the Honorable Bruce Anderson on May 16, 2016, due to his successful completion of the program.  Chris became addicted to pain medications and committed burglary of a pharmacy in order to obtain drugs.  He was required to serve county jail time and was given a suspended prison sentence on the condition that he complete probation.  At the time he graduated from the Hope program Kris had been on probation for almost 3 years.  As part of his probation he was required to serve jail time, remain a law abiding citizen, pay fines, maintain full-time employment, complete drug treatment and the Hope program, among other requirements.  On May 16th Kristopher had successfully complied with all terms and conditions of probation and the Hope Supervision Program.  Kristopher is an example of how the provisions of the Public Safety Improvement Act can be a safe, effective and successful way of dealing with drug-involved crime in our community.  If you see Kris, make sure you take the time to pat him on the back and acknowledge the accomplishment and hard work that he has put into his recovery in the past several years. 

       For decades other states have been implementing successful alternatives to penitentiary incarceration as a means of dealing with drug-involved crime. While Kristopher was out on probation, he was working, paying taxes, supporting his family, and otherwise engaged as an active member of his community. His recovery on probation is at a considerably reduced cost when compared to one year of incarceration in the South Dakota State Penitentiary. Statistics have proven that participating in evidence based sentencing and probation programs significantly reduce recidivism rates. The Charles Mix County Hope Supervision program team would like to wish Kris the best in his continuing recovery and in his future.





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