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Rocky Boy gets $12.3M for justice center


September 23, 2009

Rocky Boy gets $12.3M for justice center

John Kelleher Havre Daily News [email protected]

A $12.3 million federal grant will help fund construction of a facility that will house an adult jail, a juvenile detention center and the police headquarters on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. The remainder of the $13.4 million project will come from tribal funds. Although the location has not been determined, tribal officials said groundbreaking will take place within six months, and the facility will be open within three years. "We are going to have a safe, sanitary and secure facility," said Tim Martin, director of public safety at Rocky Boy. Since 2001 the police headquarters and the jail have been located in a building that was designed as a fire station. The old jail was "basically condemned," because of sanitary and security problems said Kim Traverslie, a grant writer for RJS and Associates, the Rocky Boy firm that prepared the applications for the grant. So the fire station was retrofitted for a jail. Because federal regulations require that adult prisoners and juvenile detainees be kept in separate facilities, the tribal council has had to pay to board out young detainees in costly off-reservation facilities. The new facility will keep young and older inmates a safe distance from one another, Martin said. She said federal officials told the tribe on Monday that the grant under the federal stimulus program had been approved. She estimated 115 jobs would be created during the construction and 15 permanent jobs would be created when the facility opens. Martin said the tribe will save money by having the juveniles housed at the facility. Programs aimed at rehabilitating the young people will be provided, and the detainees will be closer to families and friends. Martin said chances of rehabilitating young people increases greatly when family and friends can provide support. The police station will be equipped with technology that will aid law enforcement, including an enhanced 9-1-1 system. "This will bring a lot of pride to the department to have such a nice facility," he said. “The new headquarters will make it easier for the department to do a better job,” he said. He said other grants have already been awarded to improve the existing facility, which usually houses 10 to 14 inmates. That work will continue, but Martin said it will be "Band-Aid work." The new jail will be more secure, he said. A couple of incidents in recent months have raised security concerns at the existing facility, he said. The Tribal Council has not decided what will become of the existing facility, he said. The Monday announcement came shortly after the police department received two grants that will purchase equipment and offer training. One of the grants will train nurses and officers in how to handle domestic abuse cases in order to help victims and ensure successful prosecution of abusers, he said


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