Yesterday’s announcement of more federal money to fight crime on Indian reservations was welcomed by lawmakers on some of Montana’s reservations – but those same legislators raised pointed questions about the effects of that help.”
“I can see the benefits” of the new program, state Rep. Margarett Campbell, a Democrat from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, tells the Missoulian’s Michael Jamison, here. “And I can also see where it could be problematic.”
Treatment programs must accompany prosecutions, she says, because without them, “then all we’ll be doing is breaking up families and putting young parents in prison,” she says. “There needs to be a help component along with the prosecution effort.”Likewise, state Rep. Shannon Augure, a Democrat from the Blackfeet Reservation, says that “We need to prosecute the violent offenders,” Campbell said, “but we also need to help heal families.”
But there’s no mention in the federal announcement of money for treatment. Just as they fought for the needed funds for law enforcement, we trust that tribes will continue to fight – this time on behalf of the very necessary prevention and follow-up programs.