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Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

It’s being called a “comprehensive review of North Dakota’s criminal justice system.”

It will involve all three branches of government. And the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center will help with it.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple says the goals are to keep down the cost of incarceration and to reduce recidivism.

"Recidivism is that fun word tha means 'they keep coming back,'" said Dalrymple.

A victim rights group wants to put a Constitutional measure on the November ballot next year.

The measure is dubbed "Marsy's Law" -- named for a California college student who was killed by an ex-boyfriend. The accused made bail, and later confronted the woman's mother and brother.

"Today begins a new conversation for victims of crime," said Kathleen Wrigley, the chair of the group. She says the measure will not reduce the rights of criminal defendants.

Crime rate up 4% in 2014 over 2013

Jul 30, 2015

North Dakota’s crime statistics report for 2014 is a mixed bag.

The overall crime rate is up by about 4 percent, compared with 2013.

The report shows a marked increase in drug arrests. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the number of drug arrests was 4000 in 2014 – up nearly 18 percent from 2013. And Stenhejem says the arrests involve more serious drug activity.

2013 crime stats a mixed bag

Jul 15, 2014
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A mixed bag in the statewide crime statistics report for 2013.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says murders, rapes and DUIs were down from 2012. But he says aggravated assaults are up, as are property crimes. Stenehjem says his biggest area of concern right now is the nearly 20 percent increase in drug cases.

"The problem that we're seeing with the drug cases in North Dakota is that they are increasingly complex," Stenehjem told Bismarck reporters. "They tend to involve much more amounts of illegal drugs."

Stenehjem says methamphetamine is a big problem.

Former district judge: Get rid of mandatory sentencing

Feb 11, 2014

A former North Dakota district judge says in most cases, he would do away with minimum mandatory sentencing.

Robert Wefald – who served in the South Central district – told the Commission on Alternatives to Incarceration – it should be the judge who makes the sentencing determination.

ND crime up 7.9% in 2012

Jul 31, 2013
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The latest crime statistics report shows crime up 7.9% in North Dakota in 2012, compared with 2011.

"I have to say the report is not a rosy one for crime in North Dakota," Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem told Bismnarck reporters. He says part of that is attributable to the increase in the state’s population.  He does say one area of concern is the amount of organized drug trafficking the state is seeing – which he says is a statewide problem. 

Montana Senator Jon Tester and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp will host panels to discuss various efforts to reduce drug abuse in oil field areas.

The Senators will have other panelists at the meetings. One of the panelists will be U.S. District Attorney for North Dakota, Tim Purdon.

Purdon said with an increase in population it is common to notice an increase of crime. He said this includes street crimes such as assault, DUI, bar fights and domestic violence.

Purdon said the increase of street crimes causes law enforcement to behave in a reactive mode.

Stenehjem asking for more BCI agents

Aug 20, 2012

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he will be asking the next Legislature for more Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents.

"Our BCI agents are over-streched," said Stenehjem. "The population has increased. You know what's happening in western North Dakota. They are working day and night, and I worry about them burning out."

Stenehjem said the agents are dealing with increased gang activity – as well as organized crime moving into North Dakota.

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