Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Corrections

Advocates for incarcerated Montanans gathered at the Capitol Monday to speak against how the correctional system fills out census forms on behalf of inmates.

Last month, activists found the Montana Department of Corrections had not included tribal affiliation when filling out census forms for incarcerated Native Americans. They say an inaccurate census count will result in insufficient funding for tribal services, such as healthcare and schools, during the next decade.

COVID goes to college

Sep 3, 2020

For months, Gallatin County was the epicenter for COVID-19 cases in Montana. The county was the first in Montana to hit 100 cases, the first to document community spread, and during the pandemic’s first month Gallatin County was home to more than half the reported cases in the state.

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.


Six more residents of a corrections facility in Billings have tested positive for COVID-19 amid a steep rise in cases in the county where it’s located.

 

Two residents of a corrections facility in Billings have tested positive for COVID-19.

 


This story is part of our series that looks at lasting ways Montana is adapting during the pandemic. It’s funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network.

Criminal justice system reformers for years have sought to reduce county jail and state prison populations in Montana. The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process, mostly at county detention facilities across the state.

A State of Montana spokesperson says she was wrong in telling the Billings Gazette last week that a female inmate who tested positive for the novel coronavirus had been isolated for the entire length of her illness.

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.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

UPDATED 6:20 P.M. 

A former employee of the Montana Department of Corrections alleges she lost her job after refusing sexual advances by the agency director. 

The lawsuit filed in Lewis and Clark District Court late last week by Adriane Cotton alleges she was approached by Director Reginald Michael in what she understood as a quid pro quo of sexual favors for career advancement.

Director Michael denies the allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation, according to Carolynn Bright Communications Director for the Montana Department of Corrections

Pages