Today, the Montana Budget and Policy Center released its latest report titled Criminal Justice Reinvestment in Montana: Improving Outcomes for American Indians.
“Montana is currently undertaking a significant criminal justice reform effort, making this an ideal time to incorporate important changes that can help reduce incarceration and recidivism rates for American Indians,” said Heather Cahoon, state-tribal policy analyst for the Montana Budget and Policy Center and enrolled member of the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
In 2015, the Montana legislature created a fifteen-member Commission on Sentencing to study Montana’s criminal justice system and propose evidence-based policy solutions. The Commission found:
Based on these findings, the Commission developed a series of bills presented to the 2017 Montana legislature. With broad bipartisan support, the 2017 legislature enacted nine of the 12 Commission recommendations.
“In Montana, American Indians represent only seven percent of the total population, but are 20 percent of the men in Montana prisons and 33 percent of the women in Montana prisons,” said Cahoon. “This hurts families and Native communities, and is costly for the state. But there are policies that can significantly improve this situation.”
The report examines a number of evidence-based solutions and best practices to reduce the rate of incarcerations, reduce recidivism, and improve outcomes for American Indians in the criminal justice system.
State policy recommendations from the report include:
The Montana Budget and Policy Center (MBPC) is a nonprofit organization providing in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues. Our core focus is publishing credible, timely, and easy-to-understand reports on the fiscal policies that most impact low and moderate-income Montanans. Our research and analysis then inform public policy, the media, and the broader public. To learn more about MBPC, visit our website www.montanabudget.org.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.