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Probation officer likes helping people

 

BIERWAGEN

In February, Lynn Bierwagen filled the position of Probation Officer for Sanders County. At Boise State University, Bierwagen had a large focus on psychology and addictions counseling. While attending college, she worked in an alcohol and drug treatment center, with individuals coming out of the Idaho State Prison entering the program prior to being paroled. Since then, Bierwagen has held several positions where she worked with individuals with addictions or victims of crime, including working with the Sanders County Coalition for Families.

Bierwagen started working with the Montana Department of Corrections as a Probation Officer Tech. She then went through the Montana Law Enforcement Academy Probation Officer Basic Training in 2010. Each year a minimum of 16 hours of training is required to maintain positions. In addition, Bierwagen has firearms scenario trainings scheduled for later this summer. Bierwagen currently has around 105 adult individuals that she supervises on her caseload in Sanders County.

The job primarily involves case management, with each case being different, Bierwagen said. The department enforces the district court orders, but they also work to provide information and referrals to resources that would best suit everyone's path to rehabilitation.

Bierwagen conducts risk and needs assessments to determine the best method of assistance. She also works with local employers who are willing to hire individuals who are on probation, helping them reintegrate into society.

"I'm here to help people. People make mistakes and I'm here to help them make good decisions from this point forward. I won't do the work for someone, but I will offer them the resources and information so they are confident they can do the work themselves," Bierwagen said.

Part of her job also includes presentence investigations. Bierwagen finds that an important part of the job is working with victims and supporting them through this process as well. One of the ways she does this is getting victim impact statements for the court. A victim impact statement is a written or oral statement that is made during the legal process. These statements allow the victims of the crime the opportunity to speak during the sentencing of the convicted individual or the subsequent parole hearings.

The Probation and Parole Department values transparency in the community and provides information to those interested or concerned, Bierwagen said. They also work to provide the necessary help and support to those who find themselves victims of crime. For information, contact Bierwagen at the Probation and Parole Office at (406) 827-3590.

 

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