PIERRE | Nearly three-quarters of South Dakota's parolees earned time off their sentences in the first month of a new program that's part of an overhaul of the state's criminal justice system.

Laurie Feiler of the state Corrections Department says 1,975 of the state's 2,794 parolees earned time off their sentences in July. Parolees essentially can shorten their sentences by a month for every month they behave themselves.

A state panel met Thursday to discuss progress in implementing a new law that seeks to cut prison costs by treating more nonviolent offenders through intensive probation, parole and other programs outside prison walls. Many of the programs have not yet started.

The court system is working on rules for handling probation and other programs. It will start some new drug and alcohol courts.

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