Lafayette

Apr 17, 2014 1:22 PM by AP

Lafayette company holds job fair at Montana jail

HARDIN, Mont. (AP) - A private corrections company that plans to turn a long-vacant southeastern Montana jail into a treatment center for Bureau of Indian Affairs inmates held a job fair to take applications for about 115 jobs.

Officials with Emerald Correctional Management of Lafayette handed out 200 job applications within two hours of the start of Wednesday's job fair in Hardin, The Billings Gazette reported.

Chief operating officer Steve Afeman has said Emerald is pursuing plans to house about 350 inmates at the Two Rivers Detention Facility for therapeutic treatment. The treatments typically last 90 to 100 days, either at the end of an inmate's sentence or as a stand-alone punishment, Afeman said.

Inmates would come from Native American tribes across the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest. No contracts have been signed. The company hopes to begin operating in Hardin in June.

Emerald employee Doyle Jones said Wednesday the company is looking to hire correctional officers, social workers and health care providers along with kitchen, clerical and maintenance staff.

"People seemed excited about the chance to get to work," Jones said. "They're happy something is being done."

Jones said pay levels have not been finalized and will be announced when applicants receive job offers.

"We are going to hire as many local people as possible," she said.

Two Rivers Authority, Hardin's economic development arm, sold $27 million in bonds to construct the 464-bed prison in 2007. Two Rivers officials have been unable to get contracts for inmates and were embarrassed in 2009 when they fell for a ruse by a con man with a purported plan to use the facility as a military training camp.

Emerald Correctional Management operates six facilities in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

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