The Legislature's Executive Board chairman Rep. Charles Turbiville, R-Deadwood, has requested that the new Corrections Secretary come before the board to make a presentation on the prison needs. A day late and dollar short considering the legislature cut the corrections budget by $8.4 million, or 8 percent, for fiscal year 2012 to help eliminate the state's $127 million structural deficit. The state also had to fill a hole left by $8 million in federal stimulus money that made up this year's budget.
The first response to the tragedy at the state penitentiary should be a review of procedures. From an outsider, the internal procedures do not make sense and now a corrections officer lost his life. When something bad happens, the first reaction is to throw money at it. Do the procedures review first. Then look at the budget.
These people put their lives on the line everyday and they get paid ridiculously low wages. Welcome to the world of state government employment where state workers are devalued each year by the Legislature. A state worker lost his life. The people who oversee prisons and the managers who run the prison need to get their act together. Their performance is left wanting and the Johnson family paid the price.
Oh, and by the way, the South Dakota Legislature's light is not shining too brightly either.