Montana 2017 Budget
According to the Missoulian this is what he had to report:
The number of criminal offenders in Montana’s correctional system has increased by about 2,000 people in the past year, pushing the system to its limits, state Corrections Director Mike Batista said Monday.
“We are at or near capacity in our prisons and our probation-and-parole and community programs,”
Batista told a legislative panel.
He said in the past year, the total number of offenders either in prison, in community programs or under supervision of the Corrections Department has grown by some 2,000 people to 15,400.
For those of you who don’t know State Corrections Director Mike Batista, he was the former head of the DIVISION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION within the Department of Justice before this present position. Mike Batista has always been at the Law and Justice meetings requesting more funds to lock people up, regardless his position. Different advocates have tried to contact him after he has said that he would meet with them. He never follows through. I personally was told by him to call him, he never answered my phone call.
This Corrections system is now up to 15,400 people, a major increase from when the rates were brought up to the Law and Justice back in 2012. What’s the deal? For one thing, it’s a common known fact among those that work in the advocacy field that when it comes close to requesting funds from the legislature they always increase the inmate population, crowding cells, making it dangerous, making it look like a dire situation that needs to be addressed immediately. To be addressed by giving them more money.
Despite all the data presented to the Legislature, testimonies presented to the legislature from both former workers of MDOC and families of inmates, plus advocates, DOC blatantly throws in their face that everything is fabricated by all. Everyone else just “must be liars” or “stupid”….thinking that even the Montana Legislature is dumb and naive.
According to another article in the Billings Gazette,
No room at Montana State Prison
Is it just me or did this remind anyone else of “No room in the Inn for the baby Jesus”…. ? Weird.
“It’s a problem across the state,” said Leroy Kirkegard, warden at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge.
A few months ago, the prison had more than 100 offenders awaiting a cell at the prison, he said. Another 300 were on waiting lists for other Montana Department of Corrections facilities.
“We’re in that same boat just on a larger scale,” Kirkegard said.
“We’ll find room for them somewhere,” he said. The prison’s average population is 1,450.
One of those places has been the Butte-Silver Bow Detention Center.
Butte’s general capacity is 72 inmates. This year, the average has been 80. The highest was 96 offenders housed, said Mark Johnson, jail supervisor.
“This is the highest it’s been consistently for quite a while,” Johnson said. “There’s nowhere to put them. If we don’t have the beds, we just don’t have them.”
“This is not a Butte problem. It’s a Montana problem,” he added.
The state reimburses the jails for their beds at a rate ranging from $55 to $100 depending on the operating costs. Housing an inmate at the state prison costs about $100 a day per inmate.
While some county jails have resorted to putting inmates on cots in all corners of the detention center, Johnson says that is not the answer.
“The goal is not to have to do that,” he said. “Once you put them on the floor, you’ll never get them off the floor.”
When the numbers are high, the local jail instead will have officers give a notice to appear to offenders instead of booking them in for crimes such as disorderly conduct or driving on a suspended license.
“This is the way society has changed. Crime is increasing.”
Officials acknowledge the growing problems. More violence equals longer prison terms.
“I think the sentences are consistent with the offenses being committed. What alternative do these judges have?” Cox added.
Kirkegard and other state officials are exploring those options. The warden is working to launch a dramatic restructuring of the way Montana deals with inmates following an assessment from consultants. The initiative would involved more placement of offenders in communities under the supervision of probation and parole.
Mike Thatcher, chief executive officer for Butte-based Community Counseling and Correctional Services, which runs treatment and incarceration programs, said he not surprisingly supports much of the initiative.
“In general, it’s been an overwhelming and taxing problem,” he said. Many of those community-based programs are at capacity or running over as well, Thatcher said.
Thatcher is optimistic but concerned.
“Hopefully the shift isn’t that we overwhelm our community resources as well,” he said.
Oh boy! The reports these good ole boys are giving to the local media! Let’s break it down Montana:
In response to the statement “This is the way society has changed. Crime is increasing.”
First of all, Americans are prone to thinking crime rates are getting worse even when they’re actually improving.
“What we found when we asked a series of questions pertaining to fears of various crimes is that a majority of Americans not only fear crimes such as, child abduction, gang violence, sexual assaults and others; but they also believe these crimes (and others) have increased over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Edward Day who led this portion of the survey. “When we looked at statistical data from police and FBI records, it showed crime has actually decreased in America in the past 20 years. Criminologists often get angry responses when we try to tell people the crime rate has gone down.”
Despite evidence to the contrary, Americans do not feel like the United States is becoming a safer place. The Chapman Survey on American Fears asked how they think prevalence of several crimes today compare with 20 years ago. In all cases, the clear majority of respondents were pessimistic; and in all cases Americans believe crime has at least remained steady. Specific crimes queried in the survey were: child abduction, gang violence, human trafficking, mass riots, pedophilia, school shootings, serial killing and sexual assault.
Taken from: Crime Is Down, But Americans Are Convinced It’s Rising
They say that violent crimes have increased, that crime has risen in general. But the FBI says otherwise.
FBI: Violent crime drops, reaches 1970s level
According to the FBI, violent crimes including murders fell 4.4 percent in 2013 to their lowest number since the 1970s, continuing a decades-long downturn.
In an analysis, the non-profit Pew Charitable Trusts said the drop in crime coincided with a decline in the prison population, with the number of U.S. prisoners down 6 percent in 2013 from its peak in 2008.
Thirty-two of the 50 states have seen a drop in crime rates as the rate of imprisonment fell, Pew said.
Perceptions Haven’t Caught Up To Decline In Crime
Well, apparently Montana is not in that 32, and must be an awful lot, the crime is increasing to such heights with only a population of a million. Are these officials saying that the Montanan’s are a different breed of people that require increase of jails, prisons, law enforcement, etc? Oh Montana!
Now, let’s talk about that optimistic statement by Mike Thatcher, chief executive officer for Butte-based Community Counseling and Correctional Services, which runs treatment and incarceration programs, said he not surprisingly supports much of the initiative.
Oh I bet he does support the initiative. Let’s take a closer look.
Mike Thatcher – Chief Executive Officer for Community Counseling and Correctional Services, Inc.
Contracts Vendor List (C)
The following is through Mike Thatcher which can be found on the Montana DOC.
For FYE 6-30-2015 Mike Thatcher was paid a grand total of $19,813,230.00 + Unlimited Funds for Transporting Inmates.
Let’s look at that CCCS Transportation (COR14-2857A) – Contract For Offender Transport Services
*Example – Page 8 of Contract
5. Consideration Payment
5.1 Payment Schedule – In consideration of the Offender Transport Services to be provided, the State shall pay the contractor monthly. The Inmate Transportation Services provided will be billed at a flat fee of $350 for each transport.
7. Exclusive Contract
The intent of this contract is to provide state agencies with an expedited means of procuring supplies and/or services. This contract is to be considered an “exclusive” use contract and state agencies must obtain the specified product/service from the contract holder(s), unless the contract allows otherwise. However, the State Procurement Bureau does not guarantee any minimum usage totals and it’s the individual agency’s responsibility to comply with the terms of contract.
If you look further down that documentation you will see the transportation was requested for the Great Falls Regional Prison from Montana State Prison. Not for CCCS, but CCCS seems to get paid for this service.
This brought up a red flag for a former legislative budget auditor, who asked the following question.
I have a problem understanding why DOC would contract with and pay CCCS (Mike Thatcher’s company) $350 per inmate transfer from MSP to CCC( Shelby) and/or Great Falls Regional Prison.
I also have a problem understanding how one man can sign contracts with DOC amounting to over $ 20 million per year and more than likely not be audited. How can one man’s company have responsibility To transport at a fee, counsel at a fee, have inmates in pre-release at a fee, charge the inmate transitional living at a fee add ESP at a fee then recycle the inmate through the whole process at a fee.
Follow the money and I am sure that you will soon learn why Mr. Batista’s prison business has grown by 2000 in one year as he told the Interim Law and Justice Committee. Rudy Stock
Remember this article: Department Of Juvenile Justice Calls Nonprofit Executive’s Pay Of $1.2 Million ‘Excessive’
Follow The Money
Plus, get this…
HOUSE BILL NO. 3 INTRODUCED BY P. NOONAN BY REQUEST OF THE OFFICE OF BUDGET AND PROGRAM PLANNING A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: “AN ACT APPROPRIATING MONEY TO VARIOUS STATE AGENCIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2015; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.” BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Department of Corrections – Secure Facilities $7,000,000 General Fund
HOUSE BILL NO. 3
This is money they want now, this does not include the money in the 2017 Budget.