Why does Montana have Private Prisons?
The state Legislature has chosen to support the use of private and regional prisons in order to provide enough housing for inmates. Regional prisons in Cascade County, Dawson County, and Missoula County offer an opportunity for the Department of Corrections to work with local counties in housing both state and county prisoners.
Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby is the only private prison. It is operated by Corrections Corporation of America and currently houses about 500 males.
These additional contract beds increase the flexibility in the prison system and have allowed the state to bring its inmates back from out-of-state facilities and eliminate jail holds.
Who decides whether an inmate goes to Montana State Prison or one of the regional or private prisons?
Placements in contract facilities are dependent on the need for bed space and a number of other factors. All offenders at Montana State Prison and Montana Women's Prison are screened for a possible transfer. Inmates are assessed in eight different areas. Placements are made based on Victims' concerns, separation needs, and the needs of the Department. The needs of the offender and the programs available at the various facilities are also taken into account.