Governor Steve Bullock today visited the Riverside Correctional Facility in Boulder to highlight Montana’s criminal justice reform and to join other governors from across the country and on both sides of the aisle in the Face to Face initiative.
“Governors all across the nation, as we have here in Montana, recognize that we need to make best use of our resources to address an overburdened system and to implement innovative and commonsense solutions to successfully transition offenders back into society,” said Governor Bullock. “Behind the statistics are real people, and by meeting face to face, we can gain a greater understanding of how to turn every potential opportunity into a success story.”
Governor Bullock toured the Riverside facility and met with some of the women in the Riverside Recovery and Reentry Program, as well as one who has successfully transitioned back into her community. The program provides a safe, secure and trauma-informed living and working environment to help women heal from trauma and abuse, learn new skills to practice and implement coping techniques, and ultimately, transition back into the community as whole, productive, law abiding citizens.
“The Riverside Recovery and Reentry Program offers us a unique opportunity to work with women and target the underlying trauma that drives their chemical abuse and other maladaptive behavior,” Montana Department of Corrections Director Reg Michael said. “These women enter the program voluntarily, often after failing in the community, so they are motivated to learn the skills and develop the strength they need to be successful in the future.”
Governor Bullock recently signed into law a suite of bills to reform Montana’s criminal justice system and to save taxpayers money, improve outcomes for offenders, and keep Montana communities safe. The legislation comes at the recommendation of the Montana Commission on Sentencing and the Council of State Governments Justice Center and uses data-driven justice reinvestment approaches to address prison overcrowding, high recidivism, and the growing impact of substance use.
The Face to Face initiative was launched this week with a wave of public activities featuring both Republican and Democratic governors who are meeting with people impacted by the correctional system in their respective states. The initiative is sponsored by the National Reentry Resource Center and The Council of State Governments Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), JustLeadershipUSA, and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC).
Other governors participating include Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-CT), Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC), Gov. Eric Greitens (R-MO), Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT), Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV), Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA), Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Gov. David Ige (D-HI).