Havre Daily News
Chippewa Cree tribal council members are working to detain juvenile offenders on the reservation instead of paying for them to be housed elsewhere.
Council members Friday voted unanimously to seek a waiver of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act mandate that juveniles must be detained in a separate building from adults.
Currently, juveniles are sent to the Blaine County Detention Center, which costs $195 per day, tribal council member Jonathan Windy Boy said during the meeting.
Council members discussed transforming a room in the tribal jail into a cell for juveniles, if the waiver application is accepted, and possibly turning the old jail into a detention center and halfway house for youth.
“I think we have enough resources to get this done,” vice chair Bruce Sun Child said at the meeting.
Council member Brian “Kelly” Eagleman said that in order to get the waiver, the tribe must have policies in place to show that the juveniles will be completely separate from adults, although the inmates would be housed in the same building. That includes separate booking areas, recreation areas and dining facilities. Separate cells would be needed for male and female inmates as well.
He said officers are forced to pick up and then release youths to their parents because there is not enough funding to detain them all.
“We need to get the word out on the street that there will be consequences for their actions,” Eagleman said after the meeting. “There are a lot of good kids out there. Some bad apples ruin it for everyone else.”