In Missoula County, people being held pretrial and people with behavioral health needs in the jail have been key drivers of the jail population. In addition, a significant portion of the jail population are individuals who failed to appear for court, violated probation, or had their bond revoked.
In 2017, the jail pretrial population alone was 34.4%. During the same year, 64% of all low and low moderate-risk defendants remained detained beyond three days, spending an average of 12.6 days in jail.
Because of insufficient support and services, people who have untreated mental health and substance use issues too often cycle in and out of jail instead of getting the treatment they need.
In addition, people of color, particularly Native Americans, have been disproportionately arrested and incarcerated.
Finally, siloed criminal justice data systems have made it difficult to use data to identify systems-level issues and drive decision-making. Limited coordination between the criminal justice system and social services has also created significant frustration and barriers for those who need help from both.