Having access to suspect's mugshots may soon be a reality after the passage of the Mugshot Bill SB25 last week in the South Dakota Senate.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says it's important to have mugshots considered a public record and made available to South Dakotans:

The release of criminal booking photographs to the public will result in greater transparency in the criminal process, enhance public safety, and will further assist the media and the public in the proper identification of individuals in the criminal process.

Senator Craig Kennedy voted against the bill and is concerned about third party websites acquiring the booking photos, posting them to their website and requiring payment to have the photos removed from their site.

Proponents of the bill say there are measures of protection built in the bill, where mugshots would only be available for a 6 month time frame and would require a fee for processing.

Currently the only way to capture photo or video of a suspect is during what is known as a "perp walk" where suspects walk escorted by guards from their cell to appear before a judge.  Often more than one suspect is in the video or photo frame, and can cause confusion as to which suspect is being identified in a news story.

South Dakota is one of only two states nationwide that do now allow the release of mugshots.

This legislation was a result of the work of the Attorney General’s Open Government Task Force, which included members of the media, law enforcement and municipal organizations.

The bill passed by a vote of 20 to 12 and moves to the House.

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