Montana Legislature considering solutions to states overcrowded prisons, jails
Montana’s prison population is over capacity, growing and continuing to put pressure on local jails, but a package of bills before the Legislature this session aims to reverse that trend.
The 12 pieces of legislation, nine of which are still alive, hit a wide array of issues among Montana’s criminal justice system, with the goal of averting growth in the state’s prison and jail populations, while increasing public safety, improving the criminal justice system and reducing recidivism.
The bills are the product of a bipartisan interim committee that spent 13 months studying Montana’s sentencing policies and practices, identifying strategies to reduce recidivism and coming up with legislation to help take the burden off the state’s prisons and jails.
That committee, the Commission on Sentencing, was put together at the behest of the 2015 Legislature, which passed a bill creating the interim study.