Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $600,000)
Missoula County and the Missoula County Attorney’s Office are requesting funds to enhance and expand Calibrate, an award-winning prosecutor-led pretrial diversion program in Missoula, Montana. Established in 2019, Calibrate currently diverts low-risk, first-time offenders from criminal charges who complete the voluntary conditions in the program. This proposal seeks to expand the Calibrate program to assist higher-risk individuals with drug charges or who are struggling with substance use disorder and provide them the opportunity to seek treatment rather than face criminal charges. More staff capacity is necessary to accomplish this goal, along with licensed addiction counselors providing chemical dependency evaluations for participants. These evaluations are vital to developing a course of action that includes an individualized treatment plan which complements the criminal justice oversight provided by Calibrate staff. By providing an opportunity for early diversion, participants can avoid jail time, sidestep the lifetime effects of being incarcerated, and reduce their risk of recidivism by receiving needed support and treatment. While the individual benefits of participating in the pretrial diversion program are many, public safety is also increased through these early intervention efforts to address addiction and violent crime, both of which have exploded by double-digits in Missoula County the past few years.