New Law and Justice Center could make inmate transport safer for public in Gallatin County

BOZEMAN- Imagine the happiest day of your life, going to get a marriage license or finalizing an adoption and standing next to a murderer waiting to stand trial at the courthouse in the process.

That's exactly what's happening of the Law and Justice Center in Gallatin County.

Right now the only way to get criminals to the courtroom is through the public and the sheriff's office wants to change that.

Transporting an inmate from the jail to the courtroom is very public, it involves a walk from a fenced-in area outside the jail, right into the law justice center, onto a public elevator and down the hallway to a courtroom.

An alleged murder could be put face-to-face with the victims of the family making for an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe situation.

“When you have inmates going through hallways with the general public with victims, witnesses, family members, the emotions that are happening that’s a recipe for disaster,” Sheriff Brian Gootkin said.

A possible way to remedy this situation is through the approval of the new Law and Justice Center.

The new center would allow for the transfer of criminals through secured areas instead of through the general public.

“The new building is designed to have inmates absolutely segregated, to be able to keep the people and the family members separate,” Gootkin said, “as well just to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.”

The sheriff says there is nothing that can be done in the old building to remedy the situation and it puts everyone in an unsafe position.

Voters will have the chance to vote on this come November.

You can look a plans here.

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