New Draft of Jail Diversion Plan for Missoula Seeking Public’s Feedback
A draft of the jail diversion plan for Missoula city and county has been finished and now local officials are looking for feedback. The goal of the plan is to reduce the number of non-violent offenders in jail to free up space for more dangerous offenders. State legislator Cynthia Wolken worked to design the plan and explains some of the difficulties the system faces.
"Over 75 percent of the jail population are waiting for their trial or their disposition of their case. They haven't actually been convicted of anything, they've been charged with a crime," Wolken said. "If somebody is low risk for re-offending and low risk for missing a court date, how can we get them to provide in the community, so we can keep space open that we need for the sexual and violent offenders."
Funding for the plan may come through grants in the future, but that is still unclear. In the meantime, the focus will be on alternative treatments for addiction and on methods to spend up the judicial process.
"This is the communities document that is going before the city council and the county commission for their consideration. We did have a lot of public input before releasing this draft," Wolken said. "Obviously the city and county will take public comment anytime, but the final draft is going to be written in July, so the sooner, the better."