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Government

New Coalition Seeks Changes To Montana's Criminal Justice System

The sign for the Missoula County Detention Facility in Missoula, Montana in June, 2020.
Charles Bolte
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
The sign for the Missoula County Detention Facility in Missoula, Montana in June, 2020.

A coalition of diverse organizations in Montana working to reform the state’s criminal justice system released their platform on Sept. 9. The Montana Coalition for Public Safety says the current system doesn’t always help vulnerable populations such as people with mental illness or those experiencing poverty.

The coalition includes representation from groups spanning the political and social spectrum. It aims to promote investment in mental health and substance use disorder treatment, reform the use of bail money, call for more transparency from law enforcement and change aspects of probation or parole.

The work started when David Herbst with Americans for Prosperity, an organization that supports limited government, reached out to SK Rossi of the ACLU of Montana.

"You know I was excited. David made clear in his email that he wanted to talk about criminal justice issues. And honestly it’s one of those issues in Montana that hasn’t gotten enough attention," Rossi said.

The Montana Coalition for Public Safety plans to rally support from lawmakers to adopt aspects of its policy platform next legislative session.