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Montana's Justice Reinvestment Approach: Curbing State Prison Population Growth and Reinvesting in Local Public Safety Strategies

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2017
4 pages
This report reviews how Montana has addressed the challenges of the costly growth of prison and jail populations by enacting nine pieces of legislation that have led to policies that limit prison sentences to persons convicted of serious offenses and reinvest the savings in supervision resources for people most likely to reoffend and provide State assistance to counties designed to reduce local jail populations.
By enacting this legislation. Montana expects to save at least $69 million in spending on contract beds and supervision staff along with averting hundreds of millions that would have been required to build new correctional facilities to house the projected prison population growth between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2022. Under the new legislation, the incarceration period for people sanctioned for low-level violations of supervision terms will be limited to 9 months. For 30-day sanctions in jail and 90-day sanctions in community corrections facilities, the legislation allows the Department of Justice to impose the sanctions administratively. Supervision resources will be prioritized for persons assessed as most likely to reoffend, and supervision officers can request conditional discharge for people who comply with their terms of supervision. The legislation also establishes State-funded grant programs to assist counties in addressing local challenges. In addition, the legislation professionalizes the parole board and requires it to adopt decisionmaking guidelines. Senate Bill 59 provides for the creation of an oversight body to monitor and direct the implementation of the reinvestment legislation. 1 figure

Date Published: June 1, 2017