Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Three programs of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation Tribal Courts have received a significant shot in the arm from the federal government more than $1.45 million in grant funds. Elinor Nault, court administrator for the Chippewa Cree Tribe, said the funding will help expand three programs the courts have been running, including providing the first funding for a new program that the courts have been administering the Rocky Boy’s Chi ldren’s Court Enhancement Project. “It was an unfunded pilot last year that was very successful,” Nault said. “It has lowered our recidivism rate considerably.” Rocky Boy received $306,408 for that program over a three-year period and also received two other three-year grants: $350,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance for its Adult Drug Court Grant Program, and $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse a n d Me n ta l He a l t h S e r v i c e s Administration for its Healing to Wellness Drug Court. Nault said the grant funding is crucial for the operation of court programs at Rocky Boy, as the annual base funding for the courts is about $160,000. “It’s not enough to sustain the programs,” she said. The courts have had success in receiving grant funding to operate their programs, especially using the services of RJS and Associates at Rocky Boy, she said. Experienced grant-writer Kim Traversie at RJS wrote the successful grant applications for these three programs, Nault added. The Children’s Court Enhancement Project has helped keep many juvenile offenders keep from committing new crimes and returning to the court, and the new funding will help expand that, Nault said. The program is expected to help about 80 children a year over the next three years. The funding will help hire a new employee, a children’s court specialist, to administer the program, she said. The program is intended to enhance and strengthen the tribal juvenile justice system and promote public safety by establishing accountability-based programming designed to reduce recidivism among juveniles and will provide assessment and screening, facilitation of evidence-based programming, case management and compliance oversight. The funding also will help hire two new employees in each of the other areas. The Healing to Wellness Drug Court grant will increase access and availability of services to a larger number of clients as a result of the award. The program serves 40 individuals per year and with the grant it proposes to serve 80 per year, for a total of 240 individuals over the three-year project period, with support from SAMHSA through this opportunity. Nault said this is the first grant the courts have received from SAMHSA, and the court is excited to work with that administration. The Healing to Wellness program has been in operation for several years, Nault said, and has been expanded from its initial focus on juveniles to include adults as well. With the new grant, the Chippewa Cree Tribal Courts will expand the Adult Healing to Wellness Drug Court based upon the 10 Key Components of Drug Courts, Nault said, to reduce recidivism and substance abuse among adult non-violent offenders and increase successful rehabilitation through the following means: intense judicially supervised treatment, mandatory drug testing, community supervision, strict sanctions and supplemental culturally appropriate rehabilitation services.