Montana could save millions of dollars annually by moving some convicted felons, including lower-level sex offenders, out of prisons and into treatment programs that have proved successful, experts told the state Corrections Advisory Council last week, reports the Associated Press. Shawn Abbott, who runs a treatment program in Great Falls for sex offenders, said many sex offenders behind bars are young men who had sex with their girlfriends who were underage at the time. “We stigmatize them badly by labeling them sex offenders and forcing them to register with law enforcement for the rest of their lives,” she told the council.
A study of Montana’s jails this year by the National Institute of Corrections found that “in some jails, we saw 70 percent of the inmates were pretrial. They were waiting for trials for six months to a year,” said one official.