GREAT FALLS – Great Falls is now home to a first-of-its-kind program designed to help veterans in the correctional system reenter the community.
The program is based at the Great Falls Pre-Release Center and it’s designed to help veterans transitioning from secure correctional facilities or veterans in need of stabilization while on probation, parole, or in Veterans Justice Court.
A special wing for veterans is set up to handle around 30 men in dorm and barracks-style housing which is located in a separate wing from other pre-release residents.
The veterans also have a dedicated case manager and support staff. Treatment specialists develop an individual program to address how each vet ended up in the corrections system.
The program length ranges from 90-to-270 days depending on each veteran’s needs and participation level.
“It puts the power back into the resident’s hands,” said Correctional Treatment Specialist Kyle Steger. “Look, do good you’ll get out quicker, compared to just do your sentence and here you go see you in five years. It totally gives them some of that empowerment back, I can control this.”
Only veterans with a general discharge or better qualify for the program. The Great Falls Pre-Release Center also does not accept violent or sexual offenders.
One veteran is already enrolled in the program and others are in the entry process.
-Joe Huisinga reporting for MTN News