South Dakota has the same crime rate as surrounding states but a higher incarceration rate. Betty Olson and Scott Craig probably think the solution is to hand out more guns.

The American Civil Liberties Union and South Dakota Families First want you to think about South Dakota's burgeoning prison population, the drug war, and how we might change public policy for the better. They are thus hosting a screening of The House I Live In at the downtown Public Library in Sioux Falls Thursday night:

SDFF board member and retired cop Tony Ryan explains why South Dakotans should pay attention to this film:

Last year alone, drug and alcohol offenses comprised more than half of the admissions to prison.

Ryan explains, “The criminalization of drug users is counterproductive. The increasing trend to lock up drug users has led to the crisis we’re dealing with today. Families are divided, addicts are left untreated, and taxpayers are burdened with hefty bills that have little to no return on public safety. We’re falling far below the national average of solving rape and robbery cases, so we’re concerned about the quality of law-enforcement after two decades of primarily going after low level drug offenders. Police and jailers are not addiction experts and shouldn’t be using a majority of their resources to lock up people simply for drug possession.”

Ryan believes many other states are moving to embrace a health-centered approach to drug policy, which will leave police free to focus on violent and serious crimes [press release, ACLU/SDFF, 2012.12.18].

The House I Live In won the Grand Jury documentary prize at Sundance 2012, the same film festival where The Invisible War, the documentary Rep. Stace Nelson helped make, won the Audience prize, so the film must be quality stuff!

If you want to see it and talk it over with interested neighbors, get to the downtown Sioux Falls public library Thursday evening, December 20. Meet and greet with film sponsors starts at 5:30 p.m.; film rolls at 6 p.m.; panel discussion happens at 7 p.m.