American Indians are over-represented in Montana’s correctional system. According to the Montana Department of Corrections, American Indians make up about 6% of the state population, and yet they account for 21% state’s inmates.

America Indians also are 27% of Montana's arrests for failures to appear in court for probation or parole violations.

Why?

Well, after reading a story in Billings Gazette and talking to the reporter  Phoebe Tollefson who wrote the story titled "Native Americans are over-represented in Montana's prison system. What can be done?" we decided to do a whole hour on the subject.

Harlan Trombley, American Indian Liaison and Montana Dept. of Corrections will be on and take calls from listeners. Trombley does training in American Indian Culture and is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe.

The first thing I learned is that some Native Americans don't want to be called Native Americans; they want to be called American Indians.

The State-Tribal Relations Committee toured Montana' s prisons and heard from state officials about challenges American Indian offenders face while serving probation or parole. We'll see what is being planned to lower the rate of American Indians who get in trouble with the law.

Dominick

University of North Dakota