Facility History

Built in 1933, the Pennington County Home and Hospital was commonly known as the “County Poor Farm”. The original building had a detention room used to house a dangerously insane person for a day or two. This is the room later used to house juvenile “attendees” (delinquents). In 1958, the building was leased to the Beebe Family to become a nursing home. When renovations for the nursing home were complete, juvenile “attendees” continued to be housed in the basement for another two years.

Building of the county courthouse and the jail was completed in 1920. Juveniles were moved from the County Poor Farm to the county jail between 1960-1962. Moving to the jail initially provided a better environment for the juveniles but problems with overcrowding developed. A task force was formed in 1978 to explore problems that existed with housing juveniles with adults. The need for separation from adults, no room for recreation, and no ability to provide education topped the list.

Renovation and expansion of the former Saint John's Catholic School was completed in August of 1979 to create a Juvenile Detention Center in Rapid City. The new addition included rooms for counseling and a dayroom. The old school was remodeled to accommodate a Juvenile Justice Center and classrooms. The original design was to have 12 rooms of single occupancy. Even as construction proceeded, detention population pressures required conversion of 10 of the cells to double occupancy. The final project provided 22 beds for juveniles.

In January of 1996, construction was completed on the current juvenile detention facility in Rapid City. The WSDJSC was constructed as a result of the formation of the Western South Dakota Regional Juvenile Services Center Compact. The counties that form the compact are Harding, Butte, Lawrence, Meade, Custer, Fall River, and Pennington. After several years of planning and the leadership of the Pennington County Sheriff, Don Holloway, these counties came together in an effort to resolve the problem of how to deal with the rising need for detention space. The facility was designed to house 60 juveniles, 36 in secure and 24 in staff secure housing.

In 1999, the Western South Dakota Regional Juvenile Services Center Compact Board approved a plan to expand the current WSDJSC facility. The project was completed in May of 2001. WSDJSC is now a 106 bed facility staffed to hold up to 41 juveniles, ages 10-20.  Additional space was created to operate the required programming for juveniles in detention facilities.