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Jan 6, 2022

County Attorney’s Pretrial Diversion Program Garners More National Recognition

The Missoula County Attorney’s Office recently received a $600,000 grant award from the federal Department of Justice to help grow Calibrate, the first prosecution-led pretrial diversion program in Montana.

Calibrate will use the award to obtain chemical dependency assessments and evaluations, provide administrative support to the evolving program and hire an additional diversion specialist. With additional funding and capacity, service will expand to drug-addicted offenders and a more high-needs population who are currently not being assisted.

“We are honored that the DOJ recognized the good work happening here in the Missoula County Attorney’s Office,” Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst said. “We are grateful for this incredible opportunity to grow our program as we continue to look at ways to improve the criminal justice process.”

State data and annual reports from the Missoula County Attorney’s Office and Missoula Police Department show the majority of crime, especially violet crime, is drug-driven. The Calibrate program is an alternative to traditional prosecution and incarceration for these crimes and seeks to reduce the number of individuals involved in the criminal justice system.

“This grant will provide us with a powerful funding resource to address the growing challenges of hard drugs like methamphetamine and heroin,” Calibrate Coordinator Ray Reiser said. “We are looking forward to implementing new and creative approaches to dealing with drug use via pretrial diversion, with a focus on treatment.”
The grant is part the DOJ’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Abuse Program, designed to develop and implement comprehensive efforts to identify, respond to, treat and support communities impacted by the illegal drug epidemic.

“Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation is experiencing a precipitous rise in opioid and stimulant misuse and overdoses,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland explains on the Department of Justice awards website. “The Justice Department is committed to supporting programs aimed at addressing the substance use crisis that is devastating communities across the nation.”

Calibrate won a national award in 2021, recognizing it as one of the country’s most innovative new programs. Since its inception in late 2019, Calibrate has enrolled 56 participants, with 30 to 35 typically enrolled at a time. Twenty-three participants have successfully completed the program and had their charges dismissed, while three were unsuccessful and returned to court to face their charges. The program has resulted in more than 12,000 total days of diversion, meaning days when participants were not in jail, on probation or on pretrial supervision. Participants have paid $29,495.44 in restitution, and money owed is then forwarded directly to victims.

For additional information, please contact Pabst at or