Will it be built in Sioux Falls? I would assume that they would either have to build it in the city limits or in a suburb of Sioux Falls in order to have the workforce. A rumor swirling around is to build it at the 1880 Cowboy Town or the Buffalo Ridge Ghost Town (which is on I-90).

Patrick Lalley with his new digs at siouxfallslive.com throws around an interesting idea;

Here’s the question, what land?

There’s not much left on the current site, perched as it is on the bluff overlooking a packing plant, Falls Park, downtown and the verdant city beyond.

There’s the diversion channel to the east, rail lines and the airport to the north and housing to the southwest.

Where oh where will our prison go?

What an opportunity to transform the industrial and penal character of that high-profile section of the city, not just on the top of the bluff, but down below.

Maybe, and this is crazy dreamy stuff, the prison and the packing plant are a package deal.

The whole debate over where Wholestone Farms should build their plant only refocused the reality of the legacy of Smithfield.

Lalley is suggesting we tear down the old prison AND Smithfields and use the area for redevelopment. Yeah, it’s a pipe dream and Lalley knows it.

Smithfields isn’t going anywhere and as for the prison, I wouldn’t be surprised if the state sells it to a private developer who may remodel the existing prison for a different use like Dakotabilities did with the former Jefferson elementary. Take the bars off the windows and you could repurpose it for a pretty cool apartment building.

We will see if the legislature even passes the funding. $52 million seems like a lot of coin just for land acquisition and design. And where would we get money to actually build it? This facility could easily cost north of $100 million.

Prison building is just a scam on the taxpayers to make the private vendors who service the prison money and little else.

Will local leadership like Sioux Falls district legislators, council and mayor fight to keep the prison in the city limits? Likely not, but I would encourage the state and the city to do an economic impact study of the financial benefits of the prison. Personally I think we could save taxpayers millions by releasing all non-violent offenders with ankle monitors and drug tests while on parole. But that would require our legislature to have compassion, something they locked away decades ago.

26 Thoughts on “What location will the state build its new prison?

  1. Mike Lee Zitterich on December 25, 2022 at 6:29 pm said:

    Perhaps the City of Sioux Falls can swap properties, the State could sell the property today above the Bluff to the City of Sioux Falls, the current prison can become an Historical Museum Novel Building Overlooking the Bluff, while the City can sell their land up north along 477th Avenue and north of Veteran Cemetery.


    The New State Prison and Veteran Cemetary could in fact become owned bu the SOUTH DAKOTA FINANCE CORPORATION utilized to “generate profits” for the State.

    The “Prison Trustees” can then get paid $0.75 per Hour to become the “Caretakers” of Veteran Cemetary, Nature Reserve and Public Park alongside the State Prison.

    Access to both the State Prison, Veteran Cemetary, Nature Reserve and Public Park can be from 258th Street (Renner-SD) from the North, or from Slip Up Creek Road from the South @ S.D Hwy 115, with the address on 477th Avenue.

    Slip Up Creek Road and 477th Avenue could one day be Paved, turned into a 4 lane road known as Veteran Park BLVD

  2. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on December 26, 2022 at 12:17 am said:

    Instead of filling the quarry near the county fair with water, how about just building a prison village down there and let them have at it with each other down there?…. AND, If they get out of control, then we could just threaten them with water.

    Meanwhile the county fair could be relocated where the prison sits now. Just imagine a double ferris wheel which extends out over the hill side and the spillway….. AND, the old county fair site, well, it could be redeveloped and named Panopticon Heights….

  3. "Woodstock" on December 26, 2022 at 12:38 am said:

    “Say, maybe Lamont would be interested in building this prison village, huh?”…. 🙂

  4. Further Fear & Loathing on December 26, 2022 at 12:48 am said:

    Now, with this new Buffalo Ridge Prison Center, will they still have the buffalo ranch for inmate therapy and rehabilitation/training? AND, imagine the yearly round-up they could have, too, to account for everyone. Perhaps, wrapping yourself in tatanka fur skins might be a great way to escape…. Because, then, I would also recommend doing it when North Dakota plays State in Brookings.

  5. tear down the birdcage, and build the prison there. it will be the final piece of the puzzle to really spur economic development at the event center site.

  6. D@ily Spin on December 26, 2022 at 11:23 am said:

    I think the state would know better than to locate a new prison at or near Sioux Falls. Somewhere on open grassland near the center of the state seems best. It will be a shame if the present red granite building is demolished but there are not many other uses. Perhaps it could become confinement for city officials associated with foolish boondoggles but it’s not big enough for Huether’s narcissism.

  7. Mike Lee Zitterich on December 26, 2022 at 11:30 am said:

    Mark my words, the COUNTY FAIR is going nowhere, the land is NOT for sale, and the family will never accept, nor agree to sell the land outside their family heirs.

    It would be in the best interest of the State to build on land they already own, meaning, they do NOT have to buy land, let alone swapping land for land owned by Cities, Townships, Counties helps the people more than anything.

    The reason the ARENA land was chosen to build the Event Center was cause “WE” already owned the land, we did NOT have to pay $50-100 million for the land itself. The land was gifted back to the City and the School District by the former Federal Department of Defense when they liquated their property investments in the 1950’s.

    The City of Sioux Falls owns many acres of land in Mapleton Township, that it could transfer some of those acres to the State, and we end up with the land on top of the Bluff over looking Sioux Falls.

    The SOUTH DAKOTA FINANCE CORP can build right next to Veteran Cemetary to the north, while developing a State Nature, Park, Recreational Area on the same land therefore creating:


    Furthermore, Slip Up Road and 477th Street becomes a 4 Lane Paved Roadway called “Veteran’s Park BLVD”

    In return, the CITY OF SIOUX FALLS can turn the former State Prison to become:

    1st Floor – Museum, Tourist, Visitor Center
    2nd Floor – Homeless, Low Income Shelter Center
    3rd Floor – Retail, Lounge, Souvernior, Viewing Tower

    The ARENA can become a Family and Youth Entertainment Center in the hands of the S.F Park and Recreation Dept.

  8. Emmett Reistroffer on December 26, 2022 at 12:15 pm said:

    Put the new prison in Pierre, SD, close to the State Capitol so DOC heads can be more accountable to appropriators and lawmakers etc., also making it closer to the AG’s office, DCI etc., may be helpful for developing and implementing more well-rounded programs for rehabilitation, post-release support services and more. The women’s prison is already there so putting the men’s prison in Pierre should help consolidate resources/admin for the system as a whole. If not Pierre, I think another smaller community in the central part of the state should work, maybe Philip, Gettysburg, Vivian, Presho etc., keeping the prisons central could make it more accessible to the families who need to visit their loved ones. Right now west river families have to commute several hours both directions, and putting the prison on the west side of the state would create the same problem for east river families.

    More importantly, is not where the prison should be located, but how it should be planned and designed. If the planning process is driven by outdated, ineffective philosophies (like the drug war from the 80s) then we will continue to see recidivism and failed rehabilitation.

    Prison planning, programming and design are all most important than our leaders recognize. They balked at drug courts for decades, fail to invest in rehab programs and can’t even run warm water for showers inside the prison. (Cold showers are proven to lead to higher rates of depression). What may seem minor factors are actually quite major factors to a person who is spending all day every day behind bars and mostly in isolation. Something like a warm shower is the best part of their day. Things like mentorship meetings, guest speakers, exercise classes, treatment classes, animal care-taking, technical training etc., are all significantly important programs for reducing recidivism.

    What I envision South Dakota needs is a 21st century rehabilitative corrections campus, not another prison, with a farm and ranch in the middle of the campus, surrounded by different buildings forming a ‘community’ feel, i.e. a church, a school house, a medical clinic, a life-skills training home (literately to teach people how to cook, maintain a house, fix leaky faucets etc.), a barn and horse stable and a fitness course. These type of comprehensive approach to rehab/corrections rather than just stacking concrete cages on top of each other – is how we actually help these people help themselves and come out prepared to be positive contributors to society.

    Or just stick to it, build more cages, lock ’em up longer, and watch as crime continues to go up across the state and repeat offenders continue to clog up jails and courts and make their way into longtime living behind brick walls.

    Just my two cents.. perhaps I’ve learned a thing or two from my subscription to PrisonWatch for 10+ years..

  9. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/

    The non-profit, non-partisan Prison Policy Initiative produces cutting edge research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization, and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society.

  10. Theocratic Republic of SD on December 26, 2022 at 12:51 pm said:

    I would not be surprised with the state regime that is in power if they entirely privatized our prison system and built new facilities and utilized labor all over the state. I could see them spin job training into clean up of the old Uranium mine tailings West river and other hazardous waste superfund sites. Good paying jobs once released though the incentive is to keep them in with private prisons. Check in but don’t check out.

  11. Fearing the Fuhrer & More on December 27, 2022 at 8:40 am said:

    What if we just sent all of the prisoners to foster homes and had no prison? I’m sure there would be takers. The thieves, that is.

  12. Old prison could become an arts and entertainment venue, “The Slammer”.

  13. My Mistake Mike on December 27, 2022 at 11:49 am said:

    The Spring 2022 prison report put the total price tag at $600+ million and, buried in the report, recommends the former West Farm site (2 miles west of Sioux Falls, just north of Hwy 42/W 12th Street) in order to save land acquisition costs.


    Nobody wants a maximum security prison in their backyard. Is there still time to trade back with Vermillion for The U?

  14. Reliable Voter on December 27, 2022 at 12:05 pm said:

    Anyone know if female inmates are still assigned as custodians to the Mansion or did the the drug arrests of inmates during the Janklow Admn end the practice?

  15. That would be fitting, crooks waiting on a crook.

    My grandparents farm was between Springfield and Tyndall and they used to get nervous when an escapee was announced. One time my grandpa thought one of the escapees spent the night in his granary. He said, “I wish when he left he would have taken the mice.”

    $600 million! In other words it will NEVER be built anytime soon. They can’t even pay prison guards a living wage.

  16. Sick of Fearing on December 27, 2022 at 2:14 pm said:

    Why don’t we just commute the sentences for everyone in our state prison system, but give them all ankle monitoring bracelets, then wait for about six months to year, then that way we will know just how big of a prison we really need. Perhaps then, we could save some money, too…. AND, maybe we could profit off some of them by turning their free time into a reality TV show of some sorts. It could be called: ‘Naked With An Ankle Bracelet, But Not Afraid’.

  17. Fear Not! on December 27, 2022 at 2:18 pm said:

    Springfield used to be a college campus. Are all of you thinking what I’m thinking, when it comes to State? #GoYotes!

  18. Moore Stench on December 27, 2022 at 2:22 pm said:

    Female prisoners being forced to work at a Mansion. That sounds like a really bad late night movie on HBO. Not that I would watch it, however, but I’ve heard of such things.

  19. Ask Not! on December 27, 2022 at 3:06 pm said:

    Is it true, what I once heard, that one particular former South Dakota First Lady – Well, let’s just say she spent a long time in that role – wouldn’t allow female prisoners with visible tattoos to serve dinner at the Mansion?…. Man, if we applied that standard to restaurants and fast food joints now days, many of us would starve to death.

  20. Gaye Wead on December 27, 2022 at 3:25 pm said:

    Speaking of the Entertainment District, it just appeared to me that area has been such a flop that not even a minimum security jail could make it there. Maybe they and Badlands Pawn should have done a marketing study first. #CompetitionSucks #ApocalypticFailure #WhatDoYoMeanTheElksClubIsClosed?

  21. Theocratic Republic of SD on December 27, 2022 at 5:17 pm said:

    $600 Million? Since the Theocrats hate public education and fear state universities are becoming woke factories teaching socialist indoctrination and how to be LGBT. It is so laughable. Anyways I would not be surprised if they introduce a plan to close and convert another state university into another prison. Which one this time?

  22. Reliable Voter on December 28, 2022 at 3:35 pm said:

    Found this: And it’s unclear whether the governor at the time of the commutation was aware that Tammy Kvasnicka, 40, has an unresolved felony DUI charge out of Faulk County that occurred prior to the fatal 2010 crash that sent her back to prison.
    Full story here: thedakotascout.com/p/woman-commut…

  23. Very Stable Genius on December 29, 2022 at 8:47 pm said:

    None of that should bother Noem too much. If you remember right, Noem had quite a few no shows herself in court prior to running for the US House in 2010:


    ( and Woodstock adds: “What is it with these governors and driving?”…. (“Seinfeld should do a show called: ‘Governors in Cars Needing Coffee'”…. 🙂 ))


  24. D@ily Spin on December 30, 2022 at 6:54 am said:

    The city won a SD Supreme Court case against a mansion with zoning issues. What’s known? Seems like this case should have been heard and settled in a lower court.

  25. The Guy From Guernsey on December 30, 2022 at 7:50 pm said:

    Lalley’s suggestion that the current prison and the Smithfield plant be vacated and re-developed as a package is the sort of Pie-In-The-Sky proposition you see idealistic middle school kids posting to Reddit.

    MM Mike has it correct.

    The committee report recommended to build a new facility at another location and included the recomendation that the new prison be located at the former location of the West Farm Juvenile Facility west of Ellis (and about 3 miles south of the Buffalo Ridge Ghost Town along I-90).

  26. The Guy From Guernsey on December 30, 2022 at 8:13 pm said:

    Slightly off-topic, but low key gotta’ admire the way in which Forum Communications is using their post in Mitchell to assimilate into the Sioux Falls news vaccuum created by the serial self destructive actions of Gannett upon their South Dakota media properties.

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