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The goal is to reduce the incidences of impaired driving by providing a unique educational, awareness, and outreach opportunity for the Missoula Community.

Additionally, the project provides educational, therapeutic, and rehabilitation healing for DUI offenders participating in the program in an effort to reduce recidivism rates.  The project allows the participants additional opportunities to address their addictions as they work on transitional needs, reentry success, and a life of recovery.

History of The DUI Project

The idea for the project was conceived by M.F.A. student Elli Caterisano who had interned with actor/director Leah Joki in a maximum security prison in California. Ms. Caterisano proposed to start a theater/playwriting pilot project at a Pre-Release Center in Montana.

In October 2021, Elli Caterisano applied for a BIG IDEA grant from the University of Montana College of Arts and Media (UMCAM) Dean’s Office to start a theater pilot project at a pre-release center.  Dean Laurie Baefsky awarded $5,000 to the project.  Leah Joki, a Montana native, UM and Juilliard School alumni, who has 25 years of experience teaching, training and administering arts programs in 30 prisons and pre-release settings was identified as the Director.  Ms. Joki worked with Community, Counseling, and Correctional Services, Inc. (CCCS) in the Warm Springs Addiction, Treatment, & Change (WATCh) program to create a pilot of THE DUI PROJECT.  20 inmates participated in and wrote a 90-minute program and reading of material.  It was performed in Warm Springs by the inmates and at the Masquer Theater by the teaching artists and UM theater students. This was a very successful project for everyone. 


The DUI Project pilot program was the seedling of a much-needed arts engagement program for the UMCAM and is being given in-kind support from the Montana Repertory Theater.


Inmate participants found it to be the “best program” they had received at WATCh.  It was educational, informative, demanding, and inspiring.

CCCS was thrilled with the positive feedback from inmates and staff.  They have requested more programming.

More information about Leah Joki’s three decades of experience teaching a complete theatrical experience to incarcerated and returning citizens can be found at
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