Montana Women's Prison
701 S. 27th St.
Billings, MT 59101
Montana Women’s Prison in Billings houses about 190 female felony offenders in a secure environment that emphasizes accountability, productivity and personal growth.
The state-run prison’s operation is based on a therapeutic community model as part of the process for preparing women for reentry to their communities. Medical and dental services, and mental health, chemical dependency, educational, work and parenting programs are available to the women. The programs are further enhanced by a large number of volunteers who provide activities for the women.
The prison opened at its current site in 1994. In 2004, the prison began the Prison Paws for Humanity dog training program and three years later implemented a therapeutic model known as the Right Living Community program. The program is designed to promote pro-social behavior, attitudes and values as a means of maintaining abstinence from alcohol and other drugs and eliminating antisocial behaviors.
The prison strives to promote child-parent bonding and development of parenting skills in preparation for family reunification. Special family “Kids Day” events occur once a month under the supervision of parenting staff to promote positive relationships.
More than 90 percent of all offenders are involved in educational, vocational and therapeutic programs.
The prison’s educational programs include classes to obtain high school-equivalency diplomas, college preparation classes, and courses to learn computer, personal and job-related skills. In cooperation with Montana State University Billings and with federal grant funding, the prison provides offenders access to educational training, remedial and continuing education, employment planning and work skills development. In collaboration with the Montana Department of Labor, the Billings Area Reentry Task Force and MSU Billings operate a grant-funded program that works with offenders considered high risk to return to prison. It focuses on employment, relationships and family, and housing needs during transition from prison to the Billings community.
The prison industries program provides vocational training in fabric industries such as print-screening, direct-printing, design work and embroidery; and in assembly techniques for manufacturing duck call lanyards, fiber-optic bow sites and rifle slings. Launch of a garden project is planned for 2012 to enhance the nutritional variety for offenders and provide additional produce that can be given to the community food bank.
Volunteers assist with providing services and programs that encourage change and provide ties to community, while allowing women to give back in a positive and productive way through interactions and community service projects.
Medical and clinical services provides assessments, evaluation and care that significantly impacts the health and wellness of offenders, providing pharmaceutical and psychotropic management that promotes appropriate stabilization and behavioral change.
The overall goal of Montana Women’s Prison is to provide incarcerated women an opportunity to develop the necessary skills to make positive changes in their thinking, behavior and lifestyle to successfully live as positive and productive citizens after they transition to their home communities.
Montana Women's Prison has a staff of about 90, including 20 contract personnel.
The deputy warden of security supervises offenders and assures the overall security of the facility. This is accomplished by supervision of prison grounds; security inspections to eliminate contraband; enforcement of and compliance with critical policies and procedures affecting discipline, custody, security and safety of the offenders, staff, volunteers and the public; emergency preparedness; supervision of offenders on work crews or transports; and serving as a liaison with local law enforcement, state police and federal agents.
The deputy warden of treatment supervises programs which provide offenders the opportunities to develop the necessary life skills to make positive changes to patterns of thinking and behavior associated with criminal behavior such as anti-social attitudes, substance abuse, and associations with criminal peers. An emphasis is placed on reducing the risks of an offender committing a new crime and increasing the probability they will remaining drug and alcohol free, behave in a socially acceptable manner, develop useful parenting skills and make healthy choices.
The operations manager oversees contractors and volunteers that promote offenders’ educational and vocational opportunities, work skill development, spiritual and religious growth, health and welfare; and provide special programs and activities. Educational and vocational programs are intended to provide offenders with skills needed to get a job. Other programs facilitate personal growth through religion, spirituality, ethics and values, caring relationships, and all aspects of physical, mental, emotional and interpersonal health.