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UM student doc explores ways to alleviate overcrowding in Montana jails

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MISSOULA -

For the past four months, nine University of Montana School of Journalism students have been taking a closer look at overcrowding in Montana's 36 jails.

The culmination of their work, 'Montana jails: Slammed for Solutions,' will broadcast for a statewide audience on Thursday night.

ACLU of Montana reports that 90-percent of men and women jailed are convicted of addiction-related offenses. 

In the documentary, the students speak to a mother with multiple DUI's, who is serving time in a lock down treatment facility in Glendive, as well as a man, who is serving time for two DUI's by doing community service projects in Lake County.

The documentary's producer, Maria Anderson, says that the show takes a closer look at how the state is trying to break the pattern of addiction and jail time. 

"A lot of these people, who end up in jail, have problems with addiction or problems related to addiction, and it comes from generations and generations before them in their families, and it's not just them getting in trouble," Anderson says. "It's their desperate need for help."

But how effective are they in breaking the pattern of reoffending?

'Montana Jails: Slammed for Solutions' answers that question and more in a special statewide broadcast on Montana PBS at 7:30 p.m.

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