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Director's Office

The director's office in Helena provides leadership and management support to all Montana Department of Corrections facilities, programs and divisions. It also leads the department's effort to effectively communicate with other agencies, the public and victims of crime.

Mike Batista brought a 30-year career in law enforcement to the Montana Department of Corrections when he became director in January 2013.

Appointed by Gov. Steve Bullock, Batista, 53, is a Great Falls native and was administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation in the state Department of Justice for two decades before taking the corrections post.

Batista credits a college criminology professor with sparking a simmering interest in corrections. The professor, who had studied the penal system and authored books on the subject, made corrections a big part of his curriculum and took his class to prisons and jails.

Batista manages the third-largest Montana government agency, with about 1,300 employees, supervision of almost 13,200 adult and juvenile offenders, and an annual budget of about $170 million.

Before heading the state investigation office, Batista was an intelligence manager for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration from 1987 to 1994, with assignments in Texas and Nevada. He worked on improving the effectiveness of the DEA’s intelligence operations through increasing cooperation with other federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies.

Batista was an investigator in the Montana Justice Department from 1983-1987 and began his career in law enforcement as an intern in the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit of the Spokane County prosecutor’s office in 1982.

While working as division administrator for the state, Batista spent three years as an instructor for the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program at the Institute for Intergovernmental Research in Florida.

During his 20 years at the Montana Department of Justice, Batista helped develop the Montana Fusion Intelligence Center, the only collaborative law enforcement intelligence program in the state. He played a key role in acquiring an automated system for capturing and submitting fingerprints and launched the Children’s Justice Center, which is designed to enhance Montana’s ability to effectively respond to crimes against children.

Batista graduated from C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls and obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Eastern Washington University in 1982. He is a 1987 graduate of the FBI Academy, Drug Enforcement Administration Division, where he specialized in investigations, intelligence and management training.

Batista and his wife Shelly have two grown sons.

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