BOZEMAN, Mont. – Montana State University counseling interns are partnering with the Gallatin County Detention Center for the Building Good Neighbors Program.
The program provides counseling for inmates in both individual and group sessions throughout the week. These sessions are directly tied to helping inmates develop social, emotional, thinking and coping skills.
One of the interns, Holly Priscu, worked as a criminal defense attorney before quitting her job to pursue her dream of helping inmates with their mental health.
“In the environment of a jail, you can’t express your sadness necessarily,” said Priscu, “or the fact that you are scared about your case and so it is really just having people who continue to come in and providing that space is super important.”
MSU Student Carrie Welch helps Priscu with one of the groups during the week. Welch said it is programs like Building Good Neighbors and Jails to Jobs that decrease recidivism rates.
“Yeah, space and human connection, which is what they lack a lot of time in the prison system and in the jails and is what people need,” said Welch.
The program is in the beginning stages and is funded through a $20,000 seed grant from the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development.