About Montana Department of Corrections
The Montana Department of Corrections' mission is to provide a safer state by being accountable and giving rehabilitation and empowerment opportunities. Montana DOC, the 3rd largest department in the Montana state government, has approximately 1500 staff members. These members include correctional officers, nurses, and probation and parole officers who provide offenders with the tools necessary for their rehabilitation process.
To ensure the safety of Montana citizens, the DOC houses offenders in the correctional centers located across the state. The department operates four state-run correctional centers and 18 contracted facilities. The facilities include treatment and prelease, secure, and assessment facilities.
According to the Department's Offenses and Sentencing data, most offenders in Montana correctional facilities are in prison for criminal possession of dangerous drugs. In 2020, the correctional centers recorded an intake of 625 females and 1,115 male offenders for drug possession crimes. The other top offenses in the state are criminal endangerment, theft, and Driving Under the Influence. With these statistics, the department provides robust programs and services to rehabilitate and change the lives of all offenders who pass through their system.
The Montana Correctional Enterprises is the DOC's division responsible for providing educational, vocational, and on-the-job training to inmates in Montana. MCE's mission is to teach, train, and transform lawbreakers through the continuum programs and services it provides.
Montana DOC Facilities
The Montana DOC runs several correctional institutions which assist in making Montana safe from lawbreakers. The DOC facilities are in the following categories:
- Secure Facilities: The DOC runs four secure facilities, which consist of Montana State Prison, Montana Women's Prison, Pine Hills Correctional Facility, and Riverside Special Needs Unit.
- Contracted Secure Facilities: Montana DOC contracts with correctional facilities in Shelby and Glendive to manage the massive inmate population. Contracted Secure Facilities houses about 900 inmates. The Contract Placement Bureau coordinates the inmates’ movement and develops parity and consistency among state-run and contracted facilities.
- Assessment/ Sanction Centers: These centers house inmates serving sanctions or awaiting bed dates from correctional centers. While in the Assessment/ Sanction Centers, inmates participate in sex offender, chemical dependency, mental health, among other assessment processes. After the assessment, the department places offenders within the correctional system to reduce inmates' risk of recidivism and meet their individual needs. DOC has the following centers; Missoula Assessment and Sanction Center, Pine Hills Correctional Facility, Passages Assessment Sanction Center, and START.
- Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Centers: Drug abuse is common among offenders in Montana's facilities, and therefore, the DOC should cater to their needs. The Montana DOC contracts with three nonprofit entities to offer seven residential inpatient SUD treatment facilities. Further, it runs two SUD programs at Pine Hills Correctional Facility. These facilities include Passages Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Billings and Elkhorn Treatment Center.
- Prerelease Centers: Prelease centers provide an alternative to incarceration while also assisting offenders in community reentry programs. In the Prelease Centers, offenders go through prelease programs that last for six months. Offenders also work in the community and follow a pre-approved work schedule. The centers also offer numerous treatment and programs which address the court-ordered requirements and inmates' needs. Some of the prelease centers include the Great Falls Transition Center, Helena Prelease Center, and Passages.
The Probation and Parole Division
The Probation and Parole Division supervises about 10,500 offenders on probation, parole, or supervised release. The courts and the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole are accountable for placing offenders on probation or parole. Interstate Compact also works in conjunction with this division to facilitate the interstate movement of probationers and parolees. Interstate Compact supervises Montana offenders serving parole in other states and offenders who have relocated to Montana.
Montana’s DOC uses an individual case management approach while supervising offenders in the community. This approach seeks to:
- Assess offenders based on the likelihood of re-offending
- Focus on providing intense supervision to highest-risk individuals
- Emphasize the need for offenders to participate in special programs
- Evaluate the offender’s response to programs and deliver programs based on the findings
The DOC provides the Transitional Assistance and Rental Voucher Fund to support further inmates released to the community. The Rental Voucher Fund provides housing solutions to qualified offenders who the authority has released from facilities on parole. Each year, the DOC allocates $200,000 to assist inmates with up to three months of house rent after being released on parole.
Transitional Assistance Funds ($400,000) are for offenders reentering the community through conditional release, parole, probation, and community corrections programs. These funds support offenders while under supervision. Individuals can apply the fund for uses like transportation, housing assistance, program costs, or treatment.
Montana Correctional Enterprises
The Montana Correctional Enterprises promotes the success of offenders under the custody of Montana DOC and promotes the safety of the public members. MCE provides educational programs, transitional services, and work experience to help incarcerated individuals become productive, law-abiding community members after their release.
MCE provides the following inmate programs:
MCE has 38 000 acres of land, which they use to raise about 1,650 head of black Angus cattle. This range provides inmates with training in range management, horse-shoeing, horsemanship, and herd management. Herd management includes breeding, calving, branding, vaccinating, and marketing. Additionally, MCE milk about 100 Holstein cows every day. They then use the milk to produce milk products like butter and cheese while selling the excess to a cooperative in Montana.
To support the range and dairy program, MCE plants grass, barley, and oats on 2,800 acres. Inmates assist in irrigation while learning the various agricultural practices on the farm.
Community Works Programs
The community service projects assist government agencies and nonprofit organizations to receive services at no cost. But most importantly, it equips offenders with work ethics and job skills. MCE partners with Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to engage inmates in the Wildland Fire Crew and Fire Kitchen Crew. The crew members assist the public when the public reports wildfire cases.
Dog Training Program (Prison Paws)
Prison Paws is a dog-training program that operates at Montana Women's Prison. The program provides dogs with basic obedience training, grooming, and boarding services. The Prison Paw supervisor and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer show inmates to train dogs, dog grooming, and canine health and wellness.
MCE provides several educational programs to offenders depending on their needs. These programs include:
- Vocational Education Program: The program focuses on providing inmates with job experience which prepares them for life after imprisonment. Inmates can participate in automotive mechanics, metal fabrication, welding, machine tool operation, computer training, information processing, etc.
- Parenting and Life Skills: Nurturing Parenting Program and Life Skills education teach essential skills such as finance and credit, job application, and interviewing skills. These are vital to ensure successful reintegration into the community.
- CAMPP MT: Connecting Adults and Minors through Positive Parenting is an evidence-based program that seeks to reunite children and their incarcerated fathers in a structured environment.
- HiSET: Teachers partner with the Montana Office of Public Instruction to provide preparation and assessment services to the inmates. Further, they offer special education services to qualified offenders.
- College Correspondence Classes: Inmates can apply for correspondence classes through various approved schools. More so, inmates can familiarize themselves with the college application process during the college workshops.
MCE's industries program has several production trades shops which equip inmates with job skills, soft skills, and an opportunity to receive industry-recognized credentials. The industry's shops include furniture, sewing and upholstery, garment graphics, and print and sign shop. MCE sells the products to government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Keeping in Touch with Montana DOC Inmates
The department of corrections recognizes the importance of prisoners being in touch with family members and friends. In this regard, Montana DOC offers the following methods for loved ones to keep in touch with inmates:
- Email: DOC contracts with Edovo to provide email services to inmates. Only Pine Hills Correctional Facility, Montana Women's Prison, and Montana State Prison have email services.
- Mail: All mail sent to or from facilities must comply with the 3.3.6 DOC Offender Mail Policy.
- Phone Calls: To receive a phone call from an inmate, you must set up an account through Century Link. After the facility approves your phone number, you can receive calls at a rate of 10 cents per minute. To avoid revocation of phone privileges, always comply with the 3.3.7 DOC Offender Access to Telephones Policy.
- Visitation: One can visit an inmate in person or via video as far as the facility housing the inmate is accepting visitation. Check the facility’s website to see their visitation guidelines.
Montana DOC Offender Locator
Montana DOC inmate search provides information on offenders under the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections. Though the department ensures that the data is accurate and complete, it is essential to verify information from the DOC offender locator.
You can search using the inmate's name (official or aliases) or the DOC ID number. Alternatively, you can try the provided demo to understand further how the Montana prisoner lookup database functions.