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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill Proposes Housing Vouchers For Parolees

Montana Legislature

One of the conditions to be granted parole is that the individual have housing upon release from jail.

Margie MacDonald is the sponsor of House Bill 25. She says finding that housing is often a barrier. The result, she says,  is that Montana taxpayers are paying over $100 a day to keep a parole eligible inmate behind bars in either the Montana State Prison or the Montana Women’s Prison.

The Democrat from Billings says while there is a cost for these vouchers in the long run it saves taxpayers money. She says parolees eventually will return to their communities.
"Offenders who’ve done their time, they’ve made their restitution and they’re coming back to our communities and at that point in the process it’s in everyone’s interest for those people to successfully transition and not land back in Montana State Prison or the MT Women’s Prison," MacDonald says.

The Department of Corrections plans to seek a federal grant to pay for the vouchers. House Bill 25 would allow the agency to provide a rental voucher for up to 3 months.

Agency spokeswoman Adrianne Slaughter says the department supports this bill. She says the Department of Corrections sees the voucher as more than a handout.
"The DoC as an agency is doing everything we can to reduce crime and ensuring that the people who are going back out in our communities are doing so with all of the resources that we can possibly provide them. That will create successful citizens who do not commit further crime."
Slaughter says housing provides stability, and combined with a job and counseling for life skills, it reduces the rate of recidivism.

No one spoke against the bill.

The House Judiciary Committee did not take immediate action on House Bill 25.

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