The Montana Families – DOC/BOPP/DPHHS/DOJ

Movie The Godfather Corleone Rizzi Mafia Family Al Pacino Marine Hero

The Montana Families

Board of Pardons and Parole and Department of Corrections 

CCCS, Inc. 471 E. Mercury St.
Butte, Mt 59701
March 17, 2010
The meeting attendees expressed their thanks to Mike Thatcher and staff for
extending the invitation to use the corporate facilities for the meeting as well as
providing snacks and lunch for the group. Thank you so much.

Board members in attendance were: Chairman Mike McKee, Sam Lemaich, John
Ward, Margaret Hall-Bowman, and Teresa McCann-O’Connor
Board member absent were: John Rex and Darryl Dupuis
Board staff in attendance were: Executive Director Craig Thomas, Senior Parole Board
Analyst Julie Thomas, Parole Board Analyst Fern Osler, Parole Board Analyst Brain
Callarman, Parole Board Analyst John Cameron, and Parole Board Analyst Christine Slaughter

Department of Corrections staff in attendance were: Department of Corrections Director
Mike Ferriter, Montana Women’s Prison Warden Jo Acton, Montana Men’s Prison
Warden Mike Mahoney, Adult Community Corrections Division Administrator Pam
Bunke, Legal Counsel to Director Diana Koch, and Executive Assistant to the Director
Myrna Omholt-Mason

Guest: Governor’s Policy Advisor on Health and Families Eve Franklin

Review of old business – meeting summary of October 14, 2009
Correction made to male jail hold should have read “decrease” of 12%.

Population Projections:
Ms. Bunke said the population growth remains flat in her programs, Warden
Acton reported that her facility is currently below capacity, and Warden Mahoney said
the male jail hold numbers will increase due to ADA construction projects that are
currently join on in cell blocks.

Length of Stay (LoS):
Ms. Acton reported that average LoS at MWP is 18 months and is increasing
from the statistics reported in October 2009. Female offenders suffering from mental
and serious medical issues are increasing the LoS. Warden Mahoney is seeing an

increase of adjudicated teens coming into the system as adults. Gang culture is
appealing to youth and causing security challenges for MSP.

DUI/Sex Offenders:
Ms. Bunke said the Law & Justice Interim committee will meet on April 5 and 6.
SJR 39 – DUI study as well as sex offender placement challenges will be discussed.
Dr. Tim Conley did a study titled Assessing Montana’s Multiple Offender Drunk Drivers
for Prevention Strategy Ideas. The study is posted on the DOC’s Intranet site for review.
One of the findings from Dr. Conley’s research showed that offenders want a longer
period of treatment after being charged with their first DUI.
Placement of sex offenders (SO’s) is still problematic. Only two prerelease
centers, Billings and Missoula, accept SO’s. A panel comprised of DOC staff and
community based program staff will present their views to the committee on April 6
regarding placement of SO’s into the community. The panel will stress that the SO’s
going to the prerelease centers are Level One’s. Butte and Bozeman prerelease center
will not take SO’s and Great Falls is taking the issue under advisement with no firm
decision made as yet. Mr. Ferriter recommended a representative of BOPP also attend
the meeting to give BOPP’s perspective.

Sex Offenders 46-18-207(4) MCA:
Ms. Koch read the statute and it says in part…“during an offender’s term of
commitment to the department of corrections or a state prison, the department may
place the person in a residential sexual offender treatment program approved by the
department under 53-1-203.” The Intensive Treatment Unit at MSP is not classified as
a residential treatment program. Offenders at MSP attend SO treatment as well as
participating in other programming/jobs as opposed to WATCh which is an eight hour
per day treatment module. The expanded Work and Re-entry Center (formally the Work
Dorm) could be utilized as a specialized residential treatment program therefore
lessening the offender population that is currently treatment complete but still housed
behind the double-wire.
Community Corrections Interventions for High-Risk Offenders in Rural Montana:
Ms. Bunke said that eight full time P&P officers have been hired. Five of the
officers will be specialized in working with Native American offenders and three will work
with offenders that have co-occurring issues (chemical dependency and mental health).
A federal Department of Justice field auditor will be in Helena in mid-March to review
the management of the grant. One of the goals is to meld Native American strategies
into treatment programming.
Craig Thomas said the grant will now give the Board the tools to specifically
parole offenders to one of the specialized officers.
2E-Rim Project:
Mr. Thomas reported little progress has been made with the project. Funding is

a problem as well as file storage. CITRIX and OMIS access for all Board members has
to be grated and the correct computer access program hasn’t been installed on the
laptop computers used by the Board. Electronic records are stored in a program called
FileNet through the Department of Administration. DofA charges large sums of money
for storage and those expenditures are not in the DOC budget. Mr. Thomas also said
that wireless connectivity in correctional facilities is also a problem due to how the
facilities were constructed (ex. concrete walls).

CDFS(Conditional Discharge from Supervision):
Mr. Thomas said that in the last ten years 20 parolees have been discharged from
supervision. The goal of CDFS was to reduce the P&P officer’s caseload by rewarding
offenders for completing the terms of his/her sentence. CDFS requires more effort on
behalf of the officer as the officer has to approach the Board and request a CDFS. The
conditions pertaining to offenders on probation or parole status have changed due to
updating the Administrative Rules relating to conditions of probation or parole. The
existing Administrative Rule 20.25.704 dealing with conditional discharge from
supervision has been re-worded when Mr. and Mrs. Thomas met with Ms Koch regarding
updating Chapter 25 – Board of Pardons and Parole – in the Administrative Rules of
Montana. Mr. Thomas said the Board’s goal is to be compliant with ACA Standard 2-
APA-1125 which states “if not discharged after one year of release on parole or the
statutory minimum period, the parolee may request a discharge review by the authority.”
Mr. Thomas stated the current ARM statute on conditional discharge from supervision
does not have any bearing on parole. The P&P officer can recommend CDFS but the
Board does not have to approve – offenders do not have the right to parole.

Mr. McKee stated that is has been 11 years since the administrative rules
governing the Board have been reviewed. The meeting summary of October 2009
reflected that the rules will be reviewed and amended to accurately reflect the Board’s function.

Craig and Julie Thomas and Diana Koch have met and new rules have been drafted.

The proposed changes have been sent to the Board members for their review. 

If changes to the working document need to be made, please submit the suggested
changes to Mr. Thomas by the first week in May. A video conference will be scheduled
in May to review the final document before submission to the Legislative Services rule
reviewer, Valencia Lane. Diana Koch talked about the protocol through the Secretary of
State’s office regarding the administrative rule process.

The Board does not have to
hold a public hearing to amend the rules but must send a notice to interested persons 

and take their comments into consideration before the rules are adopted.

Any changes to the statutes need to be sent to Ms. Koch by April 1 for her review.

Mr. McKee stated that offenders have the right to refuse parole consideration and
he has observed some offenders have become acclimatized to the prison lifestyle. He
questioned Mr. Mahoney about the current MSP’s classification system. Mr. Mahoney
stated that offender’s with lengthy discharge dates are reviewed every six months and
are moved to different secure facilities if all they want to do is serve their time. Ms.
Acton stated that MWP does not have the opportunity to move female offenders that
refuse to appear before the Board.

Mr. Thomas said he will only present two EPP requests to DOC – funding for
ACA and per diem for Board members.
Mr. Ferriter said DOC has undergone 6.8 million in budget reductions. DOC is
still going to move forward with the NW prerelease center and the eight new specialized
P&P officer positions that are currently funded through a federal grant could be
eliminated. He stated that to maintain the existing budget it will require 174 million.

Mr. Mahoney and Ms. Acton will be submitted their EPP requests for DOC
management team review and prioritization. Ms. Acton said MWP is in critical need for
a new control system of operation of all doors in her facility.

Mr. McKee asked that the Board be kept apprised and included in any
discussions if the department is contemplating the possibility of early release of
offenders due to budget cuts.

Ms. Koch gave the attendees a copy of the MOU that reflects the current practice
between the Board and DOC. The changes to the document are: 1) to take out the word
“treat” and replace it with “manage”. The corrected sentence will read: “The purpose of
this MOU is to reflect the agreement of the parties as to how they will manage offenders
who are committed to the Department of Corrections (DOC Commits) and whom the
COC places in prison. 2) delete in its entirety item #3 which reads: “DOC Commits and
prison commits that have been screened and accepted by prerelease through the
screening process as outlined in DOC Policy 5.8.1. 3) add Pam Bunke’s name to the
signatory page as well as correcting Mr. McKee’s name to Michael E. McKee.
The effective date of the MOU will be upon signing of all parties

Mr. Thomas said the consensus of the Board members is to remove all felony
offenders names from the DOC’s Correctional Offender Network (CON) site when an
he/she is granted a pardon from the Governor. 46-23-301(b) states “Pardon” means a
declaration of record that an individual is to be relieved of all legal consequences of a
prior conviction. The Board will take the responsibility to notify DOC when a pardon is
granted so ensure the offender’s name is removed from the site. When an offender’s
deferred sentence ends the offender has to work through the courts to get the record
expunged. Once that is accomplished the Board is requesting their names be removed
from the site.

The members had an open discussion regarding the supervisory issues created
when offenders have a medical marijuana card. One incident was cited about a mental
health clinic that kicked an offender out of the treatment program because he came to
his treatment session under the influence. The general agreement was that the medical community has to develop protocols in prescribing the cards and Ms. McCannO’Connor said that offenders will have to get a specific recommendation from the Board to give the ok for a card-not just an ok from a doctor.

The marijuana registry is causing
problems for DPHHS because there is no case law to draw on. Ms. Koch said that
according to the medical marijuana statute the persons who possess a registry
identification cards may not be arrested, prosecute or penalized in any manner.
Mr. McKee said the Board will join any law enforcement grass roots organization
that may evolve before the 2011 legislative session to change the statute.

October 8 in Billings at Passages.

Board of Pardons and Parole and Department of Corrections Joint Meeting
Meeting Summary
Helena Holiday Inn
October 14, 2009

Board members in attendance were: John Rex, Margaret Bowman, Chairman
Mike McKee, John Ward, Darryl Dupuis and Sam Lemaich
Board member absent: Teresa McCann O’Connor

Board staff in attendance were: Executive Director Craig Thomas, Senior Parole
Board Analyst Julie Thomas, Parole Board Analyst Fern Osler, Parole Board
Analyst Brian Callarman, Parole Board Analyst John Cameron, and Parole Board
Analyst Christine Slaughter

Department of Corrections staff in attendance were: Department of Corrections
Director Mike Ferriter, Montana Women’s Prison Deputy Warden Bob Paul,
Montana State Prison Warden Mike Mahoney, Adult Community Corrections
Division Administrator Pam Bunke, and Executive Assistant to Director Ferriter
Myrna Omholt-Mason

Guest: Eve Franklin

Mr. Ferriter told the members that he recognized the good working
relationship between the Board and the department. In years past this was not
the case and he appreciates the change.

To Read Full Minutes:

Board of Pardons and Parole and Department of Corrections
1002 Hollenbeck Road
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
May 18, 2012

Board members in attendance: Margaret Bowman, John Ward, Teresa O’Connor, Darryl
Dupuis, Sam Lemaich, and John Rex

Board staff in attendance: Fern Osler, Mike Webster, Julie Thomas, Tim Allred, Michael
Webster, and Meaghan Shone

Department of Corrections staff in attendance: Ron Alsbury, Leroy Kirkegard, Gayle
Lambert, Sam Casey, and Myrna Omholt-Mason.
The meeting was jointly chaired by Fern Osler and Ron Alsbury

Review of Old Business:
The Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to the board not being involved
with criminally convicted youth has not been revised at the time of this meeting. Ms.
Olser announced the December 2012 retirement of Diana Koch, Chief General Counsel
for the Department of Corrections. The members expressed their appreciation of Ms.
Koch’s legal work she has done for the board.

REENTRY UPDATE – Sam Casey and Gayle Lambert
Mr. Casey stated there is a monthly reentry meeting in Helena. The group is split
into subcommittees that deal with housing, employment, family. The Helena group is
similar to the Billings Area Reentry Task Force and is building groundwork relative to
community partnerships. Mr. Alsbury added that the department’s target is to have
specialized reentry P&P officers.
Various reentry grants have been applied for: a grant for a small number of
female offenders in Butte and Great Falls to participate in the NewPath/New Life
program as well a peer mentoring grant that will be used in Billings.
Ms. Lambert reported a reentry saving plan will be implemented on July 1st for
offenders working for Montana Correctional Enterprises. For each year of MCE
employment, the offenders’ account will be credited $100.00 with a cap of $300.00
maximum. MCE is researching the possibility of using debit cards in lieu of checks to
distribute the savings money to offenders upon their release.
Mr. Casey talked about the assessment tool being developed that is based on
Ohio’s validated tool. The tool will be an individualized case management plan specific
to the offender. The tool will measure the offenders’ risk to re-offend, his positive or
negative progress as his progress through the system, as well as types of support he
will need for successful reentry into the community.
Jim Pagels is the newly-hired reentry case manager based at MCE. He has
extensive experience working with sex offenders and has developed good relationship 2
building skills relative to placing sex offenders back into the community. He is very
involved with case managers and IPPO’s relative to reentry planning.
Ms. Lambert said Director Ferriter gave an assignment to Adult Community
Corrections, Montana Correctional Enterprises, Montana State Prison, and Montana
Women’s Prison to develop a coordinated reentry/recidivism reduction plan which
comports with the needs and expectations of each of the four divisions. The plans are
due to the director by May 18th.
Ms. Lambert stated the release assistance policy will be finalized by July 1st.

Ms.Osler said the board’s Administrative Rules have been amended and are
under final review. Rule 20.25.702 outline conditions of supervision. The existing
language has the words “illegal drugs”. The new language will say “all intoxicants and
mind altering chemicals”.

Information from MASC and START is being sent to Ms. Osler in a timely manner
including the rational for the transfer back into MASC or START from parole. Mr. Allred
asked the rational for the transfer back to MASC or START be included in the
chronological notes in OMIS. Discussion followed as to who will be responsible for
making the data entry notation in the chronological notes in OMIS. Mr. Alsbury will
follow-up with the various IPPO’s as to entering the transfer information into OMIS.

Ms. Lambert reported Crossroads Correctional Center will implement the New
Steps/New Directorns programs beginning July 1st
. The Work and Reentry Center
(WRC) will re-implement the New Directions program. She said there is a marked
difference in the attitude of offenders that are involved in the programs. Additional
training for staff relative to implementing the programs at MSP, WRC, and Shelby will
be scheduled in the near future.
Ms Osler asked about training through The Pacific Institute for interested board
members. Ms. Lambert stated the founder of The Pacific Institute, Lou Tice, recently
passed away. Interested board members that would like to take The Pacific Institute
training can do so through DOC trainers through the department’s Professional
Development Bureau.

New Business:

Ms. Osler told the group the Billings Mission will no longer house Tier III
offenders. In the past the board paroled offenders to the mission and the offenders

were required to enroll in the team mentoring program. Ms. Osler is hopeful John

Williams, P&P Regional Administrator in Billings, will meet with members of the
mission’s management to discuss this issue and ask for their reconsideration.

Ms. Osler said two board staff, Julie Thomas and Cathy Leaver, will work directly
with victim(s) prior to parole hearings. A checklist has been implemented relative to
notifying the victim(s) regarding the possibility of media attending the hearing as well as
hearing protocol. The victim(s) can ask for privacy if they choose not to be in the same
room as the offender and private testimony can be given. Victim(s) will be advised the
hearings are open to the public hence the proceedings do come under public scrutiny.

Ms. Osler said this is still a work in progress and Deputy Warden Ross Swanson
has been working on getting this project completed in the next couple of months.

Ms. Osler said the sequence of offender placement was Connections then Boot
Camp then to a prerelease center. The sequence has now changed to Boot Camp then
Connections then prerelease. Mr. Alsbury asked that Ms. Osler meet with Kelly Speer,
acting superintendent at the boot camp and with Cathy Gordon, acting facilities program
bureau chief, as to the correct sequence for placement. The requirement regarding
approval for an offender to be at a prerelease center when the offender is already
housed at the center will also be clarified.

There are four specialized treatment courts: family court, drug court, impaired
driving court, and a veteran’s court. A Billings judge has requested the board become
involved in sending offenders to the specialized courts, with the assurance the board
will still have authority over the offender. Offenders would apply through the court
screening committee before receiving the courts assistance.
Tim Allred talked about the Great Falls specialized drug court. Currently
offenders on conditional release or on parole are not accepted to receive assistance.
Great Falls Judge Jensen and her team work with offenders and develop a task list that
is specific to the offender. Compliance with the stipulations on the task list is
mandatory. The team approach through the court is different from offenders being on
straight parole. The court team meets weekly with offenders and offers incentives when
they comply with court specified conditions. The courts have had success with offenders
on probation and those that have received deferred sentences. Sanctions are through
the district court judge if probation/deferred offenders are found non-compliant with
court conditions.
The board members agreed the court is a good tool but clear lines relative to
court/board supervision would have to be established. There was agreement that the
specialized courts would grant the P&P officers more options for successful
management of offenders as opposed to sending non-compliant offenders either to
START or prison. The members also agreed it would be beneficial to attend court to
obtain a better understanding of the workings of the court.

 No public comment
 Warden Kirkegard announced that Deputy Warden Ross Swanson will retire on July 27, 2012.
 Next meeting date is targeted for October prior to Director Ferriter’s retirement the end of December, 2012.

Department of Corrections
Agency Overview June 2011
For the Law and Justice Interim Committee
Prepared by Sheri Scurr, Research Analyst Montana Legislative Services Division (406) 444-3064
Page 2 of 2

Administratively Attached Entities:
• Board of Pardons and Parole (section 2-15-2302, MCA)
• State council for interstate adult offender supervision (section 46-23-1115, MCA, Art. IV)

Legislative Audits:
Financial compliance, Sept. 2010
Contract management, Feb. 2010
Chemical dependency and sex offender treatment programs, Nov. 2007
Use of electronic supervision technologies, Dec. 2006
Juvenile delinquency intervention, Dec. 2005

Agency Bills Passed During 2011 Session:
Revise make up, operation, procedures of the Board of Pardons and Parole – HB 141 (Peterson)
Revise contracting authority for community corrections programs – SB 72 (Gillan)

Non-Agency Bills During 2011 Session:
Revise parole for those in custody of DPHHS and in state facility – SB 76 (Jent) – PASSED
Increase sexual assault penalty for second and subsequent offenses – SB 152 (Brown) – PASSED

Law and Justice Interim Committee Areas of Interest:
DUI laws, 2009-2010 interim
Correctional mental health services for adults and juveniles, 2007-2008 interim
Drug offender prison population, 2007-2008 interim

Hot Topics of 2011 Session:

 DUI laws

 Death penalty

 Prison population growth and incarceration rates

Sex offenders

This information was found on a prison forum about the Montana Parole Board among various users of that site for 2011: 

I just found out that Craig Thomas keeps 2 parole books. One that is sent to the inmate to find out what was said about his possibility for parole. The 2nd book has the letters of support and the letters of condemnation that are never revealed to the inmate. They tell them what they have to do to earn parole then they deny them and never tell them why. When you push them for an answer they just don’t answer and the inmate has to wait another year.

Why is Julie Thomas even working under him? Why is he and his wife running that office? Why is Gayle Lambert running the prison industries? Then you have county attorney Marty Lambert. Who are all the Slaughter family members? Bill Slaughter, at one time was director of the Department of Corrections, then there is his daughter who is a probation officer and you have Christine Slaughter who is a parole board analyst. What is the relationship between Director of DOC Mike Ferriter and Warden Mahoney? What kind of person issues humanitarian parole 2 weeks after the inmate is dead? What kind of a person grants permission for people with little means from Florida to attend a parole hearing 2 weeks after the hearing has been held? Why do you have to hire lawyer and spend $5,000.00 to get the audio CD of a parole hearing?  (That is suppose to be a public hearing.)

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (Craig Thomas) Was the former Executive Director (Husband) – Now Craig Thomas is working with the Pre-Release
 Directs the daily operation of the Board of Pardons and Parole
 Represents the Board in matters of policy, interdepartmental cooperation, and communications with
political and judicial bodies
 Oversees all matters of personnel, budget, and distribution of work
 Assumes duties of Executive Director in his absence
 Gathers and analyzes information and makes recommendations to the Board on inmate release risk
 Victim Services Coordinator
 Prepares parole reports and makes release recommendations

PAROLE BOARD ANALYST (Fern Osler – Billings Office) The New Executive Director
 Responsible for Montana Women’s Prison, Billings Pre-Release Centers and Dawson County
Correctional Center
 A member of pre-release and initial classification committees
 Prepares parole reports and makes release recommendations
 Responsible for the Pre-Parole Program
 Serves legal notice to all Parole Violators
 Schedules victims and witnesses to provide testimony at Parole hearings
PAROLE BOARD ANALYST (Christine Slaughter)
 A member of pre-release and initial classification committees
 Responsible for BOPP Information System
 Prepares parole reports and makes release recommendations
 Responsible for the Pre-Parole Program
Approximately 72% of the correctional population is eligible for parole ….72%!!
Inmates serve 25 months to parole eligibility and 46 months to parole release decision on average 

93% of parole violators are returned to custody for technical violations

The Montana State Board of Pardons and Parole is composed of seven members. Each member is
appointed by the Governor for staggered four year terms subject to confirmation by the State Senate. The
Governor appoints the Chair in accordance with State law. The Vice-Chair is elected in an executive
session by the members.
The Board was created by legislative action in 1955. There has been some form of parole within Montana
since 1889. In 1979, 1995, and 2003, the addition of auxiliary members was provided by the legislature.
The Board is part of the Executive Branch of State government and is attached to the Department of
Corrections for administrative purposes only. The Board performs quasi-judicial and policy-making
functions independently of that Department.

Photo on page 16 of Parole Board-Thomas family and Slaughter.

  • Montana, let’s break this down.   The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole keep insisting that they are not affiliated or connected with Montana Department of Corrections.   Over and over we all have been hearing this.   Even the one board member stated this when he issued his threat to one of the wives of an inmate that will go before him.    Okaaaaaay, so they are not in any way working with each other……but…but…but….you see right in that first document from one of the meetings that included Montana Department of Corrections and the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole.  And lookey at the discussions they were having! Inmate population, budget cuts, treatment classes, parole hearings, working with the law enforcement, etc., etc., etc.,  the list goes on.   Then you see in 2011 how they brought many of these “hot topics” to the Law and Justice Committee along with Montana Department of Justice.  “The Board is part of the Executive Branch of State government and is attached to the Department of  Corrections for administrative purposes only. The Board performs quasi-judicial and policy-making functions independently of that Department.”   That is all they need to be is for administrative purposes.  It only takes a meeting, a phone call and a stroke of the pen to decide what their game plans are going to be. 
  • THEN ON TOP OF ALL THAT…..everyone within these departments seem to be related to one another!  What in the world is going on?   You have husband and wife working together on the parole board.  Uncle and niece in the Department of Corrections. Father in Department of Corrections and daughter working on the parole board.   Another father on the parole board while daughter works for Department of Corrections.  A DOC Director (father) where his daughter works as a probation officer.  One family member running Montana Correctional Enterprise, another family member a County Attorney, while another working in DPHHS.  Husbands and wives signing time cards for each other. One department passing off to the other department.  One family member watching out for the back of their other family member.  What kind of racket does Montana have running here?  There is no way that these Departments are not working together. Absolutely no way.  If they try to sell you that and you buy it, well the Brooklyn Bridge is still up for sale if you want to buy it too.    

Is this all a coincidence?  Hundreds do not think so.  Where does all this family dealing within all the state departments of Montana lead too?  Who is the Godfather of this treeline?  Submit your answers. 

Remember these: (If you take a look at this one you will see the timeline that adds up to the increase that goes along with the timelines of these meetings.  Just a FYI.)

One thought on “The Montana Families – DOC/BOPP/DPHHS/DOJ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s