The report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana was released, analyzing conditions in county jails across the state. Just five months earlier they released a report on the mistreatment of pregnant Montana inmates.
According to the ACLU of Montana:
In one 2012 case from the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, 27-year-old Angela Robinson told the ACLU that she was forced to give birth on the jail’s booking room floor, swaddling her baby in towels normally used “…for cleaning the floor and human excrement.”
In 2008, another prisoner made it to the hospital to deliver her baby, but was humiliated and put in harm’s way because detention officers insisted on keeping her in shackles throughout her labor and delivery against the advice of medical staff.
The vast majority of the 4,000 women booked into Montana county jails each year are non-violent offenders of reproductive age. Yet, even as the number of pregnant prisoners in jail grows and they are staying for longer periods of time, many county jails in Montana provide inadequate medical treatment to pregnant prisoners, and continue to engage in universally rejected practices such as shackling during labor and delivery. Our report seeks to address this issue, by documenting the problem and providing jail and detention center administrators recommendations on how to ensure pregnant prisoners get the care they need.
Most recently the ACLU of Montana did a walk through of these jails to get a first hand view of the situation and to survey the inmates. Out of that study the Montana’s ACLU branch has released a 70-page report detailing problems like overcrowding and unsafe conditions in many detention centers across Montana. It includes reports of inadequate staffing and insufficient medical care.
“Montana’s detention centers are in crisis. Outdated facilities, inadequate staff, overcrowding, insufficient medical and mental health care, and an overwhelmed criminal justice system are status quo,” said Montana ACLU Executive Director Scott Crichton in a press release.
The report says researchers found trends like over-use of solitary confinement for mentally ill people and inadequate amounts of staff.
“There are reasons why everybody should have a concern about how we operate these places. If they are overcrowded, as they are, ask ourselves ‘Is there not a better way we could do this?'” said Crichton.
Missoula County Under-sheriff Jason Johnson told NBC Montana he is still in the process of reviewing the report, so he couldn’t respond to specific details, but he did say he plans on looking at the issues raised by the ACLU, and his office is committed to transparency.
“I look forward to hearing what the ACLU has to say. A lot of what I read in their press release are things that are very concerning with regards to overcrowding. Overcrowding is an issue that we face almost daily in our jail and it’s an issue that our community’s going to have to help us solve,” said Johnson.
Johnson says he plans to examine the facility’s approach to issues like mental health and he’ll hold a press conference on Wednesday to elaborate.
“The press release that came out from the ACLU also mentions the issues of having inmates with mental health [problems] and being able to service them properly. That’s something we want to do but it is a challenge we face every day,” said Johnson.
Both the ACLU and Disability Rights Of Montana have joined forces to combat this problem with the mental health issues within the Montana prison system. Many voices that are not as big as these large organizations have worked tirelessly to get the word out to our legislators and the community.
So, here we go again Montana on the overcrowding issue. Missoula County Under-sheriff Jason Johnson basically said the same thing as Mark Johnson, supervisor at the Butte jail. Does anyone question the very high rates of incarceration in this state? Does anyone notice a fundamental problem throughout not only the jails but the prisons also? Again, lets look at the following previous articles.
- Montana’s Prison Business, Overcrowding Prisons For The New Montana Budget
- The Montana Bar Association And Prosecutorial Misconduct
- Montana Boosts Economy By Locking Up Native Americans
- Mental Illness And Prison
- ACLU Accuses Montana State Prison Of Illegal Activities
- Montana State Prison Has One Of The Highest Rates Or Rapes And Sexual Assaults Nationwide
- Montana Lawyers Expose State Prosecutors Corruption, AG’s Office Looks The Other Way
- Montana Did You Know?
- Montana Jailers Sued Again
- Montana Incarceration “It’s Business. It’s Dollars And Cents, And It’s Jobs.” Direct Quote From Montana Officials.
- Has Montana Citizens Lost Their Heart?
These are just 11 articles, there are almost 500 articles on this site. Should I go on? I keep hearing over and over how this is a community, Montana problem. A solution then would be to adjust the over crowding issue. Use the tax payer money to make the existing prisons and jails up to human standards, instead of lining a few peoples pockets to create more of a burden to society. Don’t warehouse the mentally ill, help them get treatment. Look into the states tons of allegations of corruption and misconduct. Former Montana Governor Forrest Anderson had to address this problem once before and it’s time to be addressed again.
MT Gov. Forrest Anderson
I would like to present some facts to the Legislature probably not known to most people. It deals with the corruption, waste, graft and greed of the Department of Corrections. If their budget (and corresponding prisoner incarceration levels) were reduced to what is actually and truthfully needed, that single act would solve the State’s Budget Crisis. The DOC is only interested keeping their beds full and expanding to waste more taxpayer funds. I sent this to Dave Lewis yesterday morning. I am hoping to find at least one member of the Legislature who is brave enough to become involved in the solution and not continue as part of the problem by voting to waste taxpayer dollars through endless funding to the DOC.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s the prison population was way up. A majority of the prison population had been either denied parole or were back in for trivial, technical violations. (Exactly the same situation as today.) The cell house was full and cells were double occupied. The Dorm and other housing areas were full. Forrest Anderson, who had previously been Attorney General, was elected Governor. From his tenure as A.G., knew the problems and the solution. He was well aware of the hateful, spiteful attitude toward prisoners from the staff and administration of the prison and parole board. He fired the Warden, the Director of the Department of Institutions and replaced the members of the Parole Board with instructions to reduce the population down to a level actually needed and to stop the long standing practice of revoking for technical violations. In less than a year, the population went down by about 50%. We need for something like that to happen again.
At one time, the prison was pretty much self-sustaining. It even produced a good share of the food for other state institutions until the crooks decided too much money was being saved by the taxpayers! The dairy produced milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, etc. There was a poultry operation which raised turkeys, and chickens for both meat and egg consumption. There were both beef and hog operations and a slaughterhouse and butcher shop which produced all the meat necessary to sustain the state institutions. They also grew all their own potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables. Then, a realization was made that all the millions of taxpayer dollars being saved could better be utilized by buying these products from local vendors. (Think of all the nice presents being received from those vendors for the business directed their way.)
Over the years, the administration has split positions and jobs so now it takes two or three people to do the exact same thing previously done by one person. This way, all of their friends and relatives can have a state job. Nice for those people but terrible for the taxpayers. The ratio of staff per prisoner is way too high for what is necessary for security and orderly operations. The staff utilizes state equipment for their personal and private use, etc. The above is just the tip of the iceberg. I would be willing to answer any questions or provide additional information. I am also attaching a report from Legislative Services which you may or may not have seen. It helps to demonstrate that the prison population is inflated by the practices and policies of the Parole Board and those practices and policies are contrary to the expectations of our judicial system.
Excerpt taken from: Montana’s Board Of Pardons And Parole And Their Gang
It’s All About Corrupt Money