While Governor Kristi Noem feels the need to lock herself up behind a fence, the state is locking fewer people up in its prisons. The Legislative Research Council’s latest prison population report says South Dakota had 3.4% fewer people in the pokey after three months of Noem/Ravnsborgism than it did in April 2019.
Following an anomalous bump in January, Noem and Ravnsborg have overseen a continuation of the prison depopulation trend that began last August, after our prison head count peaked above 4,000 in July.
Now I’ll acknowledge that we might all be safer if we arrested and incarcerated fewer people and just put Kristi Noem behind a really high wall. And maybe more cons on the street are making Governor Noem think she needs her super-duper six-figure fence around her mansion.
But while the fake-conservative SDGOP spin blog makes its predictable excuses for Noem’s lavish and unnecessary spending on personal whims (“overall security at the Governor’s residence has not been improved for South Dakota’s first family in over 30 years,” Pat Powers wheezes, while failing to offer any argument that overall threats to any elected officials have increased amidst a decades-long trend of lower crime rates), the somewhat more reliably conservative Senator Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) tweets that some public goods might deserve first crack at Kristi’s fence-mad money:
Candidate Noem bragged about not planning to live in the Governor’s Mansion full-time, anyway, so you tell me what’s important: putting up a $400,000 fence to protect her sleeping bag and Pop Tarts while she’s away on her long Castlewood weekends, or patching the local roads that regular South Dakotans drive and do commerce on every day?