PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – Gov. Kristi Noem says she hasn’t decided if she would sign into law a measure to reverse South Dakota’s presumptive probation policy for some lower-level felonies.

Noem said Thursday she doesn’t know the plan’s cost, though she expected it to be significant. The proposal, which hasn’t yet had a legislative hearing, is a priority for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

Presumptive probation is credited with helping avert expensive prison population growth, but critics say it ties judges’ hands. It was part of a 2013 justice system overhaul to tackle prison overcrowding that the latest state analysis credits with saving taxpayers more than $30 million.

Noem says presumptive probation has been described to her as frustrating, but she doesn’t want to be in the “business of building new prisons and jails.” Ravnsborg has said there must be deterrence.

AP-WF-01-24-19 2359GMT

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