The United States has the world's highest incarceration rate. That status lasted for decades, even though crime rates had fallen significantly worldwide. Incarceration rates are a deeply divisive issue in society, with grave impacts on incarcerated people and their families.
Let's explore the trend of Incarceration in Montana.
Statistics of Prisoners Held in Jails and Prisons of Montana State
The number of inmates in Montana jails has increased dramatically over the past few decades. In 2015, nearly two-thirds of all Montana inmates were awaiting trial. From 1970 to 2015, the number of people in jails increased by 578%. In 2015, 58% of people in Montana jails were being held before they had been convicted of a crime. These insights can be divided into three categories which are stated below:
Native Americans in Montana are more overrepresented in prisons than any other ethnic group, making up 22% of the total prison population.
In 1980, there were about 15,000 women in jail in the United States. Today, that number has increased to over 110,000.
Prisons are not only found in urban areas. On a per capita basis, rural places can contain the most prisoners.
Ending this discussion here now, moving to the prison system in Montana and the reasons why it is termed the worst.
Prison System in Montana State
Fewer than 300 miles from the Canadian border, Montana is a land of rugged wilderness and small towns. It's also a retirement destination for federal offenders, with five state prisons, three private prisons, and fairly liberal parole policies.
The Montana Department of Corrections operates facilities in five locations, with headquarters located in Helena. The department has a mission of ensuring public safety by confining offenders in prisons that are:
- Physically secure
- Constitutionally operated
- Professionally managed, and
- Fiscally responsible.
Reasons that Make Montana Prisons the Worst
Following are the reasons that almost every prisoner in Montana State faces, have a look:
- The violence in Montana prisons is endemic. Cases of murder, gang fights, and other acts of violence occur frequently and are often never reported to the public.
- Inadequate medical care in prisons led to 47,298 cases of COVID-19 in 2020.
- The guards in different prisons are less strong, allowing powerful inmates to control other prisoners.
- The lack of hygiene among inmates is caused by their limited access to clean toilets, cell rooms, and meals. This can lead to health issues.
- More population and fewer prisons. Also, due to fewer prisons, there are fewer beds and other facilities.
Let us not go further and move to criminal prisons in Montana.
5 Worst Prisons in the State of Montana
Following are the prisons of Montana State:
1. Montana State Prison
The Montana State Prison is the state's only maximum-security facility. It recently expanded and remodeled houses over 1,600 inmates in a secure, self-contained campus overlooking Deer Lodge Valley.
Inmates are offered effective and evidence-based programs to assist them in addressing their issues and becoming responsible community members.
2. Montana’s Women's Prison
Montana’s Women’s Prison is a 250-bed secure facility with 225 female inmates convicted of felonies. The prison emphasizes accountability, productivity, and personal growth for its inmates.
The women participate in various workshops and classes through gender-specific, evidence-based programming designed to assist them in transitioning back to Montana communities when they leave prison.
3. Pine Hills Correctional Facility
The Pine Hills Correctional Facility in Miles City, Mont., is the main long-haul prison for arbitrated male young offenders in the state, with a functional limit of 38.
The facility is likewise a completely working school and an evaluation place for guys on the eastern side of Montana. It has 44 adult treatment beds, 22 beds for residents awaiting transfer, and 32 beds for short-term secure storage.
4. Riverside Special Needs Unit
The Riverside Special Needs unit is Montana State Prisons’ sub-unit. This unit houses male detainees with serious, long-stretch clinical necessities. It has a restriction of 25 detainees.
This unique unit provides specialized care for inmates confined to wheelchairs or suffering from debilitating chronic health problems. Staff members are trained to deal with the medical needs of inmates and the services needed to support the physical needs of these inmates.
5. Crossroads Correctional Facility s
Crossroads Correctional Facility is a secretly worked prison for men situated in Toole County, Montana, west of Shelby.
The Corrections Corporation of America works the prison and houses prisoners, under agreement with the Montana Department of Corrections and the United States Marshals Service. The prison opened in 1999 and has a "multi-security" order.
In December 2014, former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was released from prison after serving a seven-month sentence for burglary and drug possession. This followed a five-year prison sentence in Montana's Crossroads facility, where inmates reportedly suffer from a lack of quality medical care.
When compared to other state prisons, the Montana State Prison ranks number two worst in the United States. With a population exceeding 2,500 inmates, this prison is overcrowded and understaffed. These two factors make it difficult for the state to ensure that prisoners are being treated properly and maintain a healthy environment.
The prisons in Montana are a sad lot. All of them fail to live up to the constitutional requirements for the humane treatment of prisoners. There is also a pervasive and ongoing sexual assault problem in Montana that is obvious in its failure to correct itself. The institutions are overcrowded, underfunded, and understaffed.
In short, they are ineffective and dangerous. No one can expect a prison to be able to change criminal behavior, but they can at least protect their prisoners from harm.
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