Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Policy and Preliminary Procedure

Correctional And Sentencing Policy

46-18-101. Correctional and sentencing policy. (1) It is the purpose of this section to establish the correctional and sentencing policy of the state of Montana. Laws for the punishment of crime are drawn to implement the policy established by this section.

(2) The correctional and sentencing policy of the state of Montana is to:

(a) punish each offender commensurate with the nature and degree of harm caused by the offense and to hold an offender accountable;

(b) protect the public, reduce crime, and increase the public sense of safety by incarcerating violent offenders and serious repeat offenders;

(c) provide restitution, reparation, and restoration to the victim of the offense; and

(d) encourage and provide opportunities for the offender's self-improvement to provide rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders back into the community.

(3) To achieve the policy outlined in subsection (2), the state of Montana adopts the following principles:

(a) Sentencing and punishment must be certain, timely, consistent, and understandable.

(b) Sentences should be commensurate with the punishment imposed on other persons committing the same offenses.

(c) Sentencing practices must be neutral with respect to the offender's race, gender, religion, national origin, or social or economic status.

(d) Sentencing practices must permit judicial discretion to consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

(e) Sentencing practices must include punishing violent and serious repeat felony offenders with incarceration.

(f) Sentencing practices must provide alternatives to imprisonment for the punishment of those nonviolent felony offenders who do not have serious criminal records.

(g) Sentencing and correctional practices must emphasize that the offender is responsible for obeying the law and must hold the offender accountable for the offender's actions.

(h) Sentencing practices must emphasize restitution to the victim by the offender. A sentence must require an offender who is financially able to do so to pay restitution, costs as provided in 46-18-232, costs of assigned counsel, as provided in 46-8-113, and, if the offender is a sex offender, costs of any chemical treatment.

(i) Sentencing practices should promote and support practices, policies, and programs that focus on restorative justice principles.

History: En. 95-2201 by Sec. 1, Ch. 196, L. 1967; R.C.M. 1947, 95-2201; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 533, L. 1983; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 794, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 64, Ch. 10, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 125, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 211, Ch. 546, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 189, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 474, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 581, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 51, Ch. 449, L. 2005.