GREAT FALLS — The Cascade County Juvenile Detention Center in Great Falls will take over the processing and fingerprinting of juvenile offenders from the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office. The change is scheduled to begin on March 2nd.
A press release from JDC administrator Shanna Bulik-Chism says that this is an "extremely vital service" as it will allow law enforcement officers to be back out on patrol much quicker after arresting a felony youth offender.
Prior to the JDC offering this service, officers often had to wait hours for jail staff to move inmates out of the booking area since it is a requirement for youth to be sight and sound separate from adults.
The facility would then be required to go into lockdown until the fingerprinting process was complete. Bulik-Chism said that this was a "huge inconvenience" for jail staff and law enforcement. Officers/Deputies would have to wait for the juvenile to be fingerprinted and then take them to the juvenile detention facility.
The JDC will now process all juvenile offenders (misdemeanor and felony) that are arrested and brought to secure detention. This will assist in any missing person’s investigations, identification, etc. Only those youth who are being tried as an adult will have their fingerprints transmitted to the Division of Criminal Investigation at the Montana Department of Justice.
The Cascade County JDC will be the only juvenile facility in Montana to process fingerprints of juveniles.
Bulik-Chism says that this new partnership between the JDC and CCSO is imperative and has been a dream of her, Sheriff Jesse Slaughter, and Undersheriff Cory Reeves for some time.
The JDC website says the facility is "a 24-bed, long-term facility that provides a safe, secure environment for criminally charged youth, ages 10-18 years old. Detention services are provided to the North Central Region (Cascade, Toole, Blaine, Hill, Pondera, Choteau, Broadwater, Glacier, Lewis & Clark, Teton, Phillips, and Liberty Counties). The Center also provides detention services to Counties outside the region, as well as the Department of Corrections, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the US Marshalls. While in detention the youth receive a variety of services including: year round full day school with two full time certified teachers, therapeutic and recreational services to include Yoga, AA, Bible Study, Church, Game Night, Team Building and Adventure Groups, Nutrition Education, Art and Pet Therapy, Responsible Choices, and Mentoring."