Missoula County is at the forefront to keep people out of overcr - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Missoula County is at the forefront to keep people out of overcrowded jails

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA -

One Western Montana county is at the forefront of a program to keep people out of jail at a time when jails across the state are experiencing overcrowding.

It's called the jail diversion program.

Missoula County Sheriff TJ McDermott said that the detention center is overcrowded. But 40 percent of inmates in the jail are classified as non-violent and non-dangerous, so instead of spending millions of dollars on expanding the jail, the county is working on a diversion plan to rehabilitate inmates and keep them out of prison.

McDermott said the county hired a jail administrator to monitor the daily Missoula jail population and find out which inmates are non-violent and/or suffering from mental illness or substance abuse issues.

McDermott said that they are working on getting these people out of jail and moving them intro treatment programs, such as a sobriety program or the option of house arrest. The county seeks to expand mental health services to make this possible.

"We'll always have a jail. We'll always have a place for violent criminals who need to be locked up for public safety. But that data really suggests that we can do better with and about 40 percent of our population and get these people rehabilitated and on with their life and not stuck in this cycle," said McDermott.

McDermott said rehabilitation programs are inexpensive compared to the cost of jail, and the county is looking to create a 24 hour mental health crisis facility with a law enforcement drop-off and a detox center. These citizens also need help finding housing, but he said that this will take a lot of community support to make this happen.

The ACLU of Montana is among the groups in support of the plan. Their public statement included: "The suggested solutions will protect public safety, will save money for Missoula taxpayers and will make our criminal justice system more just for both the innocent and those who are found guilty."

Click here to learn more about the Missoula County jail diversion program, which first launched in 2015.

In nearby Lake County, the sheriff's office is also experiencing overcrowding and has started publishing lists of people who were cited and let go due to lack of space.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Missing person reported in Flathead County

    Missing person reported in Flathead County

    Friday, July 20 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-07-20 13:33:44 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-07-20 13:33:44 GMT

    Sheriff Chuck Curry says Alex Ruth Beltran was last seen driving her 1998 Light Green Toyota Rav 4, with Montana plate 785019A.

    Sheriff Chuck Curry says Alex Ruth Beltran was last seen driving her 1998 Light Green Toyota Rav 4, with Montana plate 785019A.

  • Road closed in Butte leading to the M

    Road closed in Butte leading to the M

    Saturday, July 21 2018 11:57 AM EDT2018-07-21 15:57:45 GMT

    BUTTE - The road leading to the M has been closed off due to people leaving trash, beer cans and drug paraphernalia on the trail. When Parks and Rec. Director J.P. Gallagher arrived at the gate Friday, the gate was vandalized and rammed open. 

    BUTTE - The road leading to the M has been closed off due to people leaving trash, beer cans and drug paraphernalia on the trail. When Parks and Rec. Director J.P. Gallagher arrived at the gate Friday, the gate was vandalized and rammed open. 

  • Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Friday, January 9 2015 6:52 PM EST2015-01-09 23:52:03 GMT
    Saturday, January 10 2015 4:33 PM EST2015-01-10 21:33:06 GMT
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
  • 2 Separate rescue missions launched in less than 24 hours in Gallatin County

    2 Separate rescue missions launched in less than 24 hours in Gallatin County

    Sunday, July 22 2018 7:59 PM EDT2018-07-22 23:59:24 GMT
    © Photo Courtesy: Gallatin County Sheriff's Office© Photo Courtesy: Gallatin County Sheriff's Office

    While summer months mean more people will be going out to recreate in the wilderness of Montana, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office posted a cautionary tale on their Facebook page after two separate search and rescue missions were launched in the same day. 

    While summer months mean more people will be going out to recreate in the wilderness of Montana, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office posted a cautionary tale on their Facebook page after two separate search and rescue missions were launched in the same day. 

  • Libby fire burning 1.5 miles away from WR Grace vermiculite mine

    Libby fire burning 1.5 miles away from WR Grace vermiculite mine

    Friday, July 20 2018 11:53 AM EDT2018-07-20 15:53:59 GMT
    photo courtesy: John Blodgett, The Western Newsphoto courtesy: John Blodgett, The Western News

    Kootenai National Forest officials say multiple agencies responded Thursday when the fire started. The fire is 1.5 miles away from the former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine, and it's a high priority to keep the fire away from the old mine.

    Kootenai National Forest officials say multiple agencies responded Thursday when the fire started. The fire is 1.5 miles away from the former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine, and it's a high priority to keep the fire away from the old mine.

  • Bacon Rind Fire near Big Sky burns into third day

    Bacon Rind Fire near Big Sky burns into third day

    Monday, July 23 2018 5:46 AM EDT2018-07-23 09:46:14 GMT
    Bacon Rind Fire, July 22, 2018.Bacon Rind Fire, July 22, 2018.
    Bacon Rind Fire, July 22, 2018.Bacon Rind Fire, July 22, 2018.
    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - The Bacon Rind Fire continues burning in the Gallatin Valley. The wildfire is burning along a ridge in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, about 20 miles south of Big Sky. As the flames toe along the edge of Yellowstone National Park, fire and park officials are coordinating closely to address the situation. And they're prepared for anything. As of Sunday afternoon, there were about 40 ...
    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - The Bacon Rind Fire continues burning in the Gallatin Valley. The wildfire is burning along a ridge in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, about 20 miles south of Big Sky. As the flames toe along the edge of Yellowstone National Park, fire and park officials are coordinating closely to address the situation. And they're prepared for anything. As of Sunday afternoon, there were about 40 ...
  • Our Apologies

    The page you requested is currently unavailable. Pages on this site are constantly being revised, updated, and occasionally removed. You may have followed an outdated link or have outdated pages in your

    You have reached a page which is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please use your browser's BACK button to return to the previous page

  • Video goes viral about Bozeman man's flag

    Video goes viral about Bozeman man's flag

    Friday, July 13 2018 6:49 PM EDT2018-07-13 22:49:39 GMT

    A Bozeman man says he came home on Tuesday and found a note on his door asking him to take down his American flag. 

    A Bozeman man says he came home on Tuesday and found a note on his door asking him to take down his American flag. 

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.