MTPR

prisons

In an effort to keep people from returning to jail and prison, the 2017 Montana Legislature approved $400,000 in funding for a pilot program to help former inmates find stable housing when they’re released.
(PD)

Misti Liberti had few available housing options when she was released from jail last fall. Liberti sometimes resorted to couchsurfing with acquaintances she knew before her jail sentence; a big  gamble for someone who has spent years battling chemical dependency.

"When I got out I was kind of at the mercy of staying with people, and you put yourself in a risky environment sometimes. You just go back to what’s familiar," she says.

Montana Capitol.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Office of Public Defender is asking lawmakers to allow it to collect fees from people who are in jail or prison. A bill to do that was introduced Friday, and drew a rebuke by one of the office’s own attorneys.

The change proposed by OPD would reverse 2015 legislation that suspends payments by people for their public attorney until after they are released from prison or jail.    

Sen. Jennifer Gross. sponsored Senate Bill 144, which would update laws dealing with stalking and restraining orders. File photo.
Montana Legislature

Native Americans who have been incarcerated in Montana need more help finding housing and re-entering their communities. That’s the premise of a bill introduced in the Montana Senate Friday.

Missoula County Property listings by price range.
Missoula Organization Of Realtors

Missoula County is developing a pilot program to help former prisoners find housing.

No small task in a community with a notoriously tight and expensive rental market.

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

Governor Steve Bullock has rejected a budget bailout offer from the state’s only private prison in exchange for a revised and extended contract to house Montana’s inmates.

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