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Jail to Jobs Program aims to help inmates find employment

Posted: 6:31 PM, Nov 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-15 20:31:24-05

BOZEMAN, Mont.- Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Job Service are working on a new program called Jail to Jobs, with the goal of having inmates get back on their feet while helping the economy. 

The two organizations have worked together for years but this is the first time they have worked together on this specific program. Sheriff Brian Gootkin said programs like this one help inmates go from jails to jobs.

“Because, we don’t want them back in jail,” said Gootkin.  “We want them working, we want them taking care of their families, we want them paying taxes, so we have those beds in the jail for the bad people.” 

The program works by having the Job Service pick local businesses to visit the jail to interview potential prospects. Employers range from all different fields including health care and construction.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 1 in 3 American adults has a criminal record. Work consultant Teri Knutson said the jails to jobs program allows those who were previously incarcerated to get back on their feet as well as hope the economy.

“One guard said that it could actually improve inmate behavior,” said Knutson. “One of the women who I talked with who was an inmate job seeker who was offered three jobs said that it gave her hope that there is life after the detention center.”

Gootkin says inmates are less likely to become re-offenders if they have a job, housing and are back with their families.

“If you can focus on that and attempt to fix that the recidivism is way, way down,” said Gootkin. 

Bozeman Job Service says they have several more businesses interested in getting involved but there is a waitlist. Knutson said if businesses are interested to contact the local job service.