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Rapid City Correction Center

DOC Building complete by Retail Construction Services, Inc. 
May 23, 2012 6:30 am  • 

It took eight years, several stumbles and a court battle, but the Department of Corrections finally has a permanent home in western South Dakota.

Link to story:  http://rapidcityjournal.com/article_7c1add1e-a495-11e1-ab51-0019bb2963f4.html
May 23, 2012 6:30 am  •  
It took eight years, several stumbles and a court battle, but the Department of Corrections finally has a permanent home in western South Dakota.
The first 82 inmates will settle into the new Black Hills Correctional Transition Center next week. The center is a few blocks south of its current home on Creek Drive, which eight years ago was intended to be temporary.
The public and several dignitaries, including Gov. Dennis Daugaard, toured the 55,294-square-foot building Tuesday. Several lingered for the dedication ceremony that followed.
“It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful day,” said Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the South Dakota National Guard, surveying the new facility.
Estimated to cost $5.6 million dollars, the center was built without any debt, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said during the dedication.
Inmates have contributed more than 575,000 man hours to the region’s labor force through work release, assignments to local government, forest fuel conservation, fire suppression and mountain pine beetle mitigation, he said.
The center means even more opportunities for inmate labor and more opportunities for inmates to become responsible citizens, Daugaard said.
The center will come in under budget, thanks in part to the 43,500 man hours of inmate labor that went into the project, according to Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk.
As corrections secretary, Reisch spearheaded the effort to bring inmates in the South Dakota prison system closer to home for the final months of their sentence.
He joked freely about the long search to find a suitable site for the center. When inmates moved into a converted warehouse in February 2004, they were only supposed to stay18 months.
A site near the Rapid City landfill was first rejected because of methane gas. A site north of Interstate 90 along Elk Vale Road is in the flood plain. Legislators rejected a third site along Elk Vale Road, south of I-90 after a public outcry.
The search finally brought Reisch to the former American Concrete Equipment property a few blocks south of the temporary unit at 2317 Creek Drive, only to have neighboring Purdues Inc. challenge the location all the way to the state Supreme Court.
“We fought a long time. We had a lot of people helping – the governor, the legislature and people in Rapid City were on board from the start. It was just a matter of finding the right place,” Reisch said.
Approximately one-third of the more than 3,000 male inmates of the state prison system call the counties of Pennington, Meade, Lawrence, Butte and Fall River home, Kaemingk said.“This has been a long time coming.”
Working and living closer to their family and friends can help make that transition out of prison successful.
Over the coming months, another 100 inmates will join the first group living at the new center. The center’s capacity of more than 400 inmates will be reached over the next two years, according to the unit manager Brett Krenzke.
Those will all be minimum security inmates on work release, doing community service work or transitioning back into the community, Krenzke said.
The 19,000-square foot dormitory on the second floor houses men in 12-bunk open pods with centralized restrooms, telephones and desks for writing or reading. Each inmate has a locker and bunk shelf suitable for an inmate-purchased fan or television (no cable).
The restrooms are handicapped-accessible. The building is equipped with an elevator.
The first floor of the massive structure contains a dining room and kitchen managed by a professional firm that uses inmate workers.
Krenzke said the additional space will allow the center to expand programming to help men transition back into the community.
Inmates will have access to classroom and a computer room (no Internet) for completing their GED. A full-time teacher is being hired.
The additional space will accommodate drug and alcohol support groups, counseling sessions and religious gatherings.
Inmates will also have access to a nurse, dental care, eye care and mental health counseling at the building.
Inmates on work release will enter and leave through a receiving area where their street clothes are stored in lockers. Random strip searches will help control contraband, according to Springfield warden Bob Dooley.
More than 140 cameras will monitor the inmates.
The outdoor recreation area will have weights, basketball and a sweat lodge.
A television-equipped day room will double as the visitor reception area. Friends and family can visit inmates on the weekends and holidays.