South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven Jensen delivered the annual State of the Judiciary Address to the Legislature yesterday, asking for $5-million dollars to improve court security.
Jensen wants to start a grant program that would let counties outfit their courthouses with features such as security doors and ballistic glass.
He also told lawmakers there is a shortage of court reporters, a problem created by many current reporters moving toward retirement and by the fact there’s no training program in South Dakota for the profession.
Jensen provided an update on how the court system is addressing a state bar survey showing about a quarter of those who responded said they had experienced sexual harassment while working in the legal system.
He said two major steps already taken in addressing the issue are mandatory sexual harassment training and creation of an ombudsman position in the state bar, adding that his goal.to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
Justice Jensen also said there is a growing awareness of the mental health risks faced by judges as they make decisions that have long-term impacts on lives such as prison sentences and child custody.