Montana State Legislature

SJ 26: Women's Prison

Study Background: The Montana Women's Prison (MWP) is located in Billings. The DOC purchased the current prison building in 1994. It previously served as a psychiatric hospital before being converted to a prison facility, and its last major expansion occurred in 2003. The prison has 250 beds and houses approximately 225 felony inmates, a significant number of whom are American Indian. Access to educational opportunities and job training is not adequate or equal to those in the men's facilities. In addition, the MWP has an aging inmate population and lacks a geriatric facility comparable to that available for male inmates.

SJ 26, sponsored by Sen. Diane Sands during the 2021 legislative session, asked an interim committee to examine the adequacy of the prison facility to meet the living, programming, training, and educational needs of the inmate population. Legislators ranked the study 23rd out of 28 studies, and the Legislative Council assigned SJ 26 to the Law and Justice Interim Committee (LJIC).

When planning its interim work, the LJIC requested to Legislative Council that the study not be performed. Instead, the LJIC invited Department of Corrections staff to present information related to a strategic planning process the Department had conducted and to discuss options for the MWP facility and programs. 

SJ 26 Text

Other Materials
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