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South Dakota Indians treated differently in courts

South Dakota Indians say a recent state report confirms they are treated differently in the court system.

South Dakota Indians are usually charged higher bonds than whites. They are less likely to be released on reasonable bail or on their own recognizance than whites charged with similar crimes, the South Dakota Equal Justice Commission said.

One reason for the higher bond is the lack of extradition compacts. Judges and prosecutors are fearful that Indian suspects will flee to the reservation, something that happens from time to time.

But tribal members say the real reason is racism. Indians are disproportionately represented in the justice system and are given harsher punishment committing committing no more crimes, per capita, than whites.

Get the Story:
Judges set higher bail for Indians, report says (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 9/24)
State, tribes struggle without extradition pacts (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 9/24)

Equal Justice Commission Final Report:
Report and Recommendations (January 2006)

Justice System Study:
Justice In South Dakota: Does Race Make A Difference? (October 2002)

Related Stories:
South Dakota commission releases final report (02/21)
Indian woman named to South Dakota parole board (01/12)
Editorial: Native American on parole board needed (02/28)
Bill to add Indian to state parole board rejected (2/23)
Indian lawmaker introduces racial profiling bill (02/03)
Report to downplay race as factor in justice system (07/20)
Race study confirms disparity (10/28)
S.D. study shows disparity in justice (10/22)