Project Fresh Start

jail  There is a relatively new voluntary program at the Gallatin County Detention Center called Project Fresh Start, and its purpose is to help reduce recidivism by getting people recently released from jail on a path to a better lifestyle.  This is done by coordinating services such as housing, food, clothing, transportation and services before the inmate is released.
Project Fresh Start (PFS) took several years to develop.  Our own Dave Young, who is also a Gallatin County Chaplain, and Roxanne Klingensmith from St. James Episcopal Church are two of the primary forces behind it.  PFS is run through the Gallatin County Detention Center (GCDC) and overseen by Tiffani Pimley, Program Coordinator.  It has the full support of the GCDC and funds are run through the Gallatin County Treasurer.
Project Fresh Start focuses on people with absolutely no resources.  These are not a protected class of people, but they are people who have made poor choices.  The program is all voluntary, and PFS worked with over 100 people last year.  Treatment for mental health and substance abuse as well as development of job connections begins while inmates are still in jail.  The first 48 hours are crucial to reducing recidivism, but some of these people have nowhere to go upon release.  Often former friends and family are drug users or live in unsuitable situations.  Upon release inmates may not have any money, identification, or even proper clothing because they are released with exactly what they had when arrested.  If they were arrested in July wearing shorts and flip flops, that’s what they have to wear when released in February.

PFS, with help from a variety of faith communities in Bozeman, including BUMC, has established a revolving loan fund to help newly released people get into pre-arranged housing.  PFS also spends money on clothing, shoes, taxi vouchers, copies of birth certificate, state ID’s and other things as needed.  This grass roots effort is the only service like this operating in Montana, and it’s making a difference in the lives of those who truly want to make a change in their lives