Great Falls, MT -

The American Indian liaison for the state Department of Corrections says he's working to provide cultural awareness to agency staffers and to help Native American inmates prepare for their release.

Harlan Trombley told the Great Falls Tribune that after a month in the job, he's found that corrections staff often don't understand traditional practices such as smudging, when herbs are burned so the smoke can be used as a cleansing agent.

Corrections Director Mike Batista says Trombley's job is to make sure inmates who want to participate in such ceremonies have the materials and permission they need.

Trombley also plans to bring in mentors from tribal communities to work with offenders. He also helps them find a job and a place to live when they finish their sentence.