We have been receiving complaints from families, inmates and officers. We already shared how they have targeted a section of the inmates at Montana State Prison and are now only allowing visits on Wednesday and Fridays. Of course this does not allow many families to visit. Those are weekdays and with struggling mothers that work and children that are in school allowing only these weekdays at these hours does not allow them to visit. Families drive from all over the state and from other states to visit their loved ones just to be turned away at the gate. Grandparents that are elderly and have made a long trip for nothing. Montana State Prison did not even rotate weekends giving a chance for these families to visit. Almost 30% of the population has been targeted, that is discrimination rights by all those concerned. They endangered these men’s lives with how they implemented their new rules with no consideration to the safety of them or the trouble they would cause their families.
We are now hearing concerns that the chow-hall has cut the meals down. They have cut down not only the size of what they are cooking and portions but they are no longer serving some of the food that they use too. Mostly a lot of beans, tacos, etc. They use to receive decent size hamburgers, chicken and other items of a healthy nature. Dinner is around 4pm, by 8pm most of the inmates are hungry with less food and the early meal times. At Crossroads Correctional the inmates have found worms or maggots in their dinner that was served to them. This is disgusting. This forces men to purchase food items from the commissary, Montana Correctional Enterprises. What happens when most of these men don’t have the money? The families don’t have more money to send. They have bankrupted most families. But they make the families feel guilty where they keep trying to supply money to take care of their loved one with many families going without themselves. The profit is great for Montana Correctional Enterprises. Remember how we told you before that to purchase a bible was $60-$65? You can purchase a bible on the outside for way cheaper. The vending machines in the visiting area constantly take your money without giving you a food item. Even the officers have suggested that they use another company or have them update the machines. But Montana State Prison will not listen to anyone not even from their own staff.
Montana State Prison uses Telemate for their phone services. These phone calls are suppose to be around $3.85 for 30 minutes. Many times they are charged upwards to $6 for 30 minutes with them cutting the phone line off before the 3o minutes. You cannot receive a detailed bill that holds them accountable like most phone companies. Telemate specifically stated that a person would have to get a subpoena. Now this is suppose to help save families some money but get this….an inmate calls collect (which you would think would cost more) is $3.00 for 30 minutes. What is that about? You can get two calls with what Telemate is charging for one call. How much profit is the prison receiving from that service?
The inmates are not allowed to bring water out onto the recreation yard. With this summer heat up at the 90′s and with the smoke in the air this is absurd not to allow them water. Inmates are complaining of dizziness, being lightheaded, headaches. We all know this can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke or death. But the MDOC seems to think the prisons here should be “concentration camps.”
There are inmates where their shoes have large holes in the bottom of the shoe. An inmate requested if he could use a pair of “state issued” prison shoes until his arrive there. It costs to buy shoes from the commissary. But the prison stated ”NO”……my question is, the taxpayers are paying a certain amount per inmate, why aren’t they using that money for what it is needed for? Who is taking the money and pocketing it? It is going somewhere! These funds are to provide adequate food, clothing and medical care.
The inmates have to take classes and they do not allow these men to get into the classes. They are suppose to go on a priority for parole basis yet there are those that will be facing the parole board without having the chance to even get into the class that is usually an introductory class for all inmates. Are they specifically sitting on these inmates cases in order for them NOT to be parole eligible? Thus ensuring their prisons for profit? They have now posted signs stating that if you ask more than once about these issues and the staff feel they have answered your question (although the answers are so generic they still don’t know what is going on) the staff will write them up. Possibly ending up in lock-down.
The Montana Department of Corrections has yet to attend the Law and Justice Committee Meetings to answer any of the Senators or Representatives. Has Montana Department of Corrections become so big that they do not have to answer to anyone now? Well, they answer to Governor Brian Schweitzer but he has allowed these administrations to go too long unchecked in Montana. Some of these Department Heads think that they own Helena, the state capitol. Are they upset that they are being questioned by the Law and Justice Committee? Are they upset that families and advocates are speaking up? That Montana is speaking up? There is a scheduled September 6th, 2o12 Law and Justice Meeting where Montana Department of Corrections are suppose to answer many of these questions. Everyone is waiting with baited breath to see if they actually show up.
Now, you the reader…what do you think after hearing about this? Do you think that Montana State Prison or Montana Department of Corrections is retaliating because so many Montana families and advocates from organizations are speaking up on the behalf of those that cannot speak up for themselves? Because so much is being exposed? Hmmmm…..makes you wonder.
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