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What is MASC?

The Missoula Assessment and Sanctions Center, a community corrections program within the Department of Corrections.

Where is MASC located?

MASC is located within the Missoula County Detention Center in a building originally constructed as the Missoula County Regional Prison.

When did the program start?

MASC accepted its first offender in February 2003.

What is the capacity and typical population at MASC?

The facility has a capacity of 144 male offenders and an average daily population of 139.

Why was MASC created?

MASC was designed to divert male offenders from higher-cost prison facilities to more appropriate and less-expensive community corrections programs and to expedite placement of offenders in community-based correctional programs.

Who goes to MASC?

Judges have the choice of sentencing an offender to prison, to a suspended or deferred sentence (probation), or to the Department of Corrections as "DOC commits," which allows the agency to determine the appropriate placement. Those DOC commits assessed by local probation and parole staff as not immediately appropriate for a community placement also are sent to MASC. Offenders sent to MASC can have a prison sentence or DOC commitment of no more than five years.

How long do offenders stay at MASC?

The average length of stay is 89 days, but an offender can be placed in MASC for up to 120 days for an assessment.

What happens to offenders while at MASC?

Offenders are assessed to determine their need, risks and most appropriate placement in the correctional system. MASC provides short-term treatment, counseling and evaluation for sex offenders and those offenders with chemical dependency, anger management and mental health problems. MASC staff and a representative from the county detention facility meet weekly to assess offenders, review and discuss placement options with offenders, and make referrals to correctional programs. The process begins with an interview and file review when an offender arrives at MASC. A counselor interviews the offender to acquire more personal information and history which will assist in determining future placement options. The offender is then scheduled to see the screening committee and will have the opportunity to talk directly to the committee about his placement and future plans.

Where do offenders go when they leave?

If an offender is determined not suitable for a community corrections placement, he is transferred to prison. MASC placements total 6,118 offenders since the program began. Of those, 78 percent were diverted from prison. Almost 41 percent were sent to treatment programs, nearly 16 percent were direct placements in prerelease centers and 15 percent went to the boot camp. Most placements at a treatment facility are followed by a prerelease placement.

Has MASC been successful?

Yes, beyond expectations. When MASC was created, correctional officials had hoped it would divert from prison half of the offenders sent there. The diversion rate is 78 percent.

If not for MASC where would the offenders sent there be supervised?

Most of the offenders would be in prison or would stay in a county jail without services while awaiting screening by a local probation and parole staff.

How is MASC staffed?

MASC works under an agreement between the Department of Corrections and Missoula County. The county provides the staff for the security, care and custody of DOC offenders. The State provides for the process of assessment, treatment, placement and sanction of offenders.

Who works at MASC?

The staff includes four state employees: an administrator, correctional unit manager, institutional probation and parole officer and an administrative support employee. The State also has contracts for a chemical dependency counselor, mental health counselor, sex offender counselor and a specialized counselor for youthful offenders. Missoula County provides three employees dedicated to MASC: unit manager, classification officer and disciplinary officer.

What is the Sanction function of MASC?

The sanction unit is used by probation and parole hearings officers for offenders who have violated conditions imposed on their community placements. A sanctioned offender can be placed in the unit for up to 30 days in lieu of prison, before being returned to the community supervision.

What role does MASC play for offenders accepted into a community corrections program?

Generally, offenders pre-approved for a community corrections program will be housed at MASC pending a placement date. If warranted, an offender may be interviewed by a counselor to determine his mental and physical state prior to placement.

Is there a similar program for women offenders?

Yes, it is located in the Passages program at Billings. The Passages Assessment, Sanctions and Revocation Center has a capacity of 50. Passages is operated under a contract with the Department by Alternatives Inc., a private nonprofit corporation.