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Press Release

Montana U.S. Attorney's Office and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Defenders Program to Host Offender Reentry Training

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

PABLO  – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana and the Tribal Defenders Holistic Defense Program of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) will present a training on offender reentry issues on March 29 and 30, 2016, on the campus of the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana.  The program is titled “Reentry in Tribal Communities” and will focus on the difficulties faced by Native American offenders returning to their communities following incarceration in state and federal prison facilities.

The training is in keeping with efforts in recent years by both the State of Montana and the US Department of Justice to reduce the rate of recidivism and promote successful reintegration into society for individuals who have been incarcerated.  The goal of such efforts is to break the cycle of incarceration that is too prevalent in both tribal and non-tribal communities.  A critical step towards accomplishing that goal is to address the many obstacles to successful reentry that offenders face following their release.  The speakers bring a broad range of knowledge and expertise on how to navigate those obstacles.

The focal point of Day One of the training will be presentations by members of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reintegration Program, which has received national recognition and is considered a model for effective reentry programs.  The second day will begin with a presentation on historical trauma by University of Montana professor Dr. Gyda Swaney, followed by a presentation by the CSKT Tribal Defenders on the Flathead reentry program, which is currently under development.  Their program includes work programs for returning offenders, reentry intake and assessment tools, mental health issues for reentering adults, and the collateral consequences of convictions and special legal issues faced by those returning to the community after incarceration.  Day two will also include presentations from Montana Department of Corrections staff.  They will discuss the accomplishments of the Montana Reentry Task Force, and the resources available through the Task Force.

“This training reflects a concerted federal, tribal, and state effort to reduce recidivism and promote successful offender reintegration into our tribal communities,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Mike Cotter.  “The diverse range of expertise possessed by the presenters represents a unique opportunity to share and exchange experience and knowledge about successful reentry techniques both on and off the reservation.  By continuing to work cooperatively and to share our accumulated knowledge, we can facilitate successful reentry in all Montana communities.”

“This training will give a perspective regarding the circumstances of reentry in a tribal community, said Ann Sherwood, Managing Attorney for the CSKT Tribal Defenders.  “We also hope to begin a discussion regarding better ways for the criminal justice system to address mental health and addiction issues in order to reduce recidivism.”

The Training will take place at the Johnny Arlee and Victor Charlo Theatre on the Salish Kootenai Campus.

Updated March 29, 2016

Community Outreach
Press Release Number: MELISSA HORNBEIN, Public Information Officer, (406) 457-5277