The Elkhorn Treatment Center, a new women’s corrections and methamphetamine treatment facility here, will accept its first six residents Tuesday. Boyd Andrew Community Services is building and operating the center on a contract for the state. Visitors may be struck by the building’s openness, abundant light and its views of mountains and nearby fields. The interior space feels more like a dormitory than a prison. Bedrooms in the two residential wings are furnished with wooden beds, desks and wardrobes. “We want people to be comfortable,” said Michael Ruppert, chief executive officer with Boyd Andrew. A laundry room is down the hall. In the center of the building is a welllit recreational room that will be equipped with exercise equipment and a large-screen TV. Nearby is the dining room and kitchen. Out the window is a fenced exercise area. There’s also a therapeutic wing housing counselors’ offices and rooms for group therapy. And there’s a computer room/classroom, where GED classes and technology classes will be offered. What is not as apparent to the casual visitor are the security measures. Residents will wear identification bracelets that emit distinctive radio frequency identification signals, Ruppert said. A computer in the central duty station tracks each resident’s movements. An alarm goes off if anyone should tamper with the bracelet or try to remove it. There’s also a security fence, security glass windows, video monitors, a secure sally port entryway and an electronic monitoring system that records when staff make their rounds. Staff are equipped with panic buttons, which are also monitored from the duty station, Ruppert said. Staff just completed six weeks of training, covering security, self-defense, first aid and an overview of the physical and mental impacts of addiction, as well as successful treatment strategies. “All of the residents are felons,” said Ruppert. “They’ve been convicted of either a possession charge or a crime related to drug usage, not only meth, but that is a priority.” Prior to placement at Elkhorn, they’ve been screened by an eight-member local committee that includes law enforcement, an area citizen and treatment professionals. The screening packet for each person contains information gathered during pre-sentence investigations, prior treatment and court orders, said Susan Carroll, corrections operations officer for both the Elkhorn Treatment Center and the Helena Prerelease Center. Women are referred from the women’s prison in Billings, district courts, or by probation or parole officers. Residents will stay nine months, followed by six months in a pre-release center. Those who don’t cooperate in treatment are returned to the regular corrections system. Ruppert predicts a success rate of at least 50 percent. Success is measured based on abstinence from drugs the rest of their lives, he said. “We’re shooting for way better than that,” he added.