Montana Public Radio

crime

The U.S. House Tuesday passed Savanna’s Act, a policy that would require the Department of Justice to create new protocols to address missing or murdered Native Americans.

The policy requires law enforcement to receive training on how to record tribal enrollment for victims in federal databases and requires the justice department to report statistics on missing or murdered Native Americans.

Montana’s two attorney general candidates sparred in Sunday’s debate, showcasing the sharp contrast between how the Republican and the Democrat each view the elected position.

Violent crime in Montana’s most populated county has been on the rise since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Reports police say a majority of the increase in violent crime is connected to drug use.

Yellowstone County law enforcement officials say from March through July violent crime rose nearly 21 percent compared to the same time period last year.

"This means we had 67 more violent crimes and 67 more victims during that time. And the crimes are more serious. With murders, shootings, stabbings and a 44 percent increase in robberies," said U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme.

The investigation continues into an alleged arson at a fire station just outside of Kalispell.
Flickr user Ariane Middel (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana's most populous county has seen a sharp increase in violent crime since the coronavirus pandemic began, driven by more domestic abuse and drug-related crimes, federal and local authorities said Tuesday.

A recent report says Black people in Montana are nearly 10 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people. That’s higher than any other state.

Montana’s top rank comes from an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report released in April that evaluated six million arrests across the U.S. between 2010 and 2018.

Inmate Populations for Select County Jails in Montana
Charles Bolte / Montana Public Radio

County jail populations dropped this spring as the state reacted to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now, with cases of COVID-19 on the rise, inmate populations in several of Montana’s largest county jails are growing and cell blocks are crowded. Some advocates are calling for more action to reduce the number of people locked up during this time. But local sheriffs say they’re balancing virus risks and public safety. It’s all leaving some inmates worried about their health.

Audit: Corrections Should Analyze Treatment Effectiveness

Jun 15, 2020

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state Department of Corrections should collect and analyze more data to compare the effectiveness of state and private prisons, to more efficiently place and transfer inmates among facilities and to ensure offenders are matched with the appropriate community corrections services to help reduce their likelihood of re-offending, two state audits recommended.

Aerial view of Deer Lodge, Montana.
Sam Beebe (CC-BY-2) / https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9094066

A search for a Montana State Prison inmate who escaped from the prison’s work reentry center over the weekend continued Monday.

Sheriff truck.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Missoula County deputies are searching for a suspect in a shooting that left a man in critical condition. The victim was found lying in the road in the Miller Creek area southwest of Missoula at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Sheriff's office spokesperson Jeannette Smith says officers are searching for Zakai Houck, also known as Kai William, as a person of interest in the shooting.

Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock Wednesday issued a directive aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Montana’s Correctional facilities. But it was dismissed as too little, too late by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and disability rights advocates.

The Montana Supreme Court weighed in late in the afternoon.

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