BOZEMAN – The Gallatin County Detention Center says inmate recidivism has been cut in half since 2011. It’s attributing much of the decline to a re-entry program called Fresh Start.
Gallatin Co. Detention Center says in 2011 recidivism was at 35 percent but it’s now at 18 percent. For those who have taken part in the Fresh Start program, recidivism is at 11 percent.
“You want them to leave better than. They came in and that’s our biggest focus,” said Social Worker Tiffani Pimley who runs the Fresh Start program. She says it’s the only re-entry program at a jail within the state, similar programs are run in prisons.
Fresh Start is a voluntary program for inmates at the facility. They connect with Pimley, who is the lone staff with help from volunteers, and learn about ways to cope with issues their facing and find resources to help them after release. Most of her clients are pre-trial and have not been sentenced.
“I’m not looking at the charge,” says Pimley. “I’m looking at really what’s behind that charge and so a lot of times we’re focusing on housing, we’re focusing on employment.” She says mental health is also another area where people need to address issues.
The program was initially funded by revenue generated by the jail, through the housing of inmates from other countries low on space. It is now part of the budget because of what staff calls proven success.
Reporting by Mallory Peebles for MTN News