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What is the Policy Unit of the Montana Department of Corrections?

The Policy Unit is located within the Staff Services Division managed by Policy Specialist, Kurt Aughney. The policy manager implements the policy directives of the Department director.

What is the history of policy development with the Department?

In the mid-1990's, a task force wrote over 200 formal DOC policies affecting all divisions, but primarily for adult secure facility operations. The adopted format was "policies and procedures," which combined the two and listed procedures that did not always work for all divisions. Typically, a division or facility would put their heading on the DOC policy and add the procedural detail they needed. Legal staff, state officials, employees, offenders and others became aware of inconsistencies that occurred between DOC policies and division and facility procedures. This created confusion, grievances, litigation and lack of agency credibility. A new policy system was established in January 2006 as provided in DOC Policy 1.1.2, Policy Management System.

Why does the Department have policies?

Policies provide staff with direction to accomplish the Department's mission, meet statutory obligations, create consistent operations, allow scrutiny by taxpayers, courts, the Montana Legislature and offenders, and protects the agency's professional and legal practices. Policies ensure public safety, institutional security, protection of offenders' civil rights and uniform application of department programs and services.

What does the Policy Unit do?

The unit manages the development, review, revision and publication of Department policy. Policies are developed and managed based on the Department's mission and goals, American Correctional Association standards, and federal and state laws.

What is the difference between "policies" and "operational procedures"?

Policies are overarching in scope and describe what must be done and why. Procedures, often written specifically for unique divisions, facilities, or programs, describe how something is done by listing operational details, actions necessary to implement policy, and identification of the staff responsible.

How are DOC policies developed?

Policies are written as directives that typically apply to divisions, programs, and facilities, and may apply to contracted facilities and programs. They are reviewed, approved and signed by the Director.

How are operational procedures developed?

Each division, facility, and program is provided details on local operational requirements, e.g., they must comply with DOC policy and are reviewed, approved and signed by the appropriate administrator.

How often are policies reviewed and why?

Annually, based on a schedule posted on the DOC Internet and Intranet. The schedule is established by the policy specialist and provides an ongoing opportunity for employees to comment and stay current on policies. The annual review ensures that policies reflect actual practices within the divisions and facilities, and conveys to staff that its input is valuable and appreciated.

How many policies does the Department have?


Who has access to restricted policies?

DOC employees who have a job-related need for access, as authorized by a division or facility administrator.

Where can unrestricted DOC policies be found?

On the Internet at . Policies also are available to DOC employees on the Department's Intranet site at: