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Justice Reinvestment in Montana: Report to the Montana Commission on Sentencing

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2017
20 pages
This report reviews the key challenges facing Montana's criminal justice system and the policies recently developed to address them.
The key challenges facing Montana's criminal justice system are prison and jail population growth, high recidivism rate, and the increasing impact of substance use. The 17 policy options for addressing these issues are outlined in this report to the Montana Sentencing Commission, which is studying the State's criminal justice system in preparation for its reform. Policy options for consideration by the Commission include establishing the use of pretrial risk assessment and supervision; revamping the pre-sentence investigation report to be more structured and objective; eliminating mandatory minimum jail sentences for first offense driving with a suspended license and third-offense petty theft; and reclassifying traffic offenses (other than driving under the influence) as civil or citation-only offenses. Other policy options offered are the adoption of evidence-based standards; requiring State-issued licenses for treatment facilities; focusing probation resources on those who are most likely to reoffend; limiting the term of incarceration for technical violations of probation and parole conditions; and increasing housing options for people returning to the community after incarceration. 2 figures and 47 notes