_________ Bill No. _______

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act requiring a judge to consider alternatives to incarceration; and amending section

46-18-102, MCA."

WHEREAS, budget considerations require prioritization of the use of limited prison space for high-risk and repeat offenders; and

WHEREAS, a potential for reducing recidivism may be realized by encouraging judges to select options that aid people in coping with drug, alcohol, and mental health problems outside of the prison system.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 46-18-102, MCA, is amended to read:

"46-18-102.   Rendering judgment and pronouncing sentence. (1) The judgment shall must be rendered in open court.

(2)  If the verdict or finding is not guilty, the judgment shall must be rendered immediately and the defendant shall must be discharged from custody or from the obligation of his the defendant's bail bond.

(3)  (a) If the verdict or finding is guilty, the sentence shall must be pronounced and a judgment rendered within a reasonable time.

(b)  When the sentence is pronounced, the judge shall clearly state for the record his the reasons for imposing the sentence. The judge shall also clearly state for the record that the judge considered all available alternatives to incarceration, including those provided in 46-18-201(1)(a)(i) and (1)(a)(ix) through (1)(a)(xi). If incarceration is imposed, the judge shall state why incarceration was chosen instead of one of the available alternatives."