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Resolution 2016-05, Detention Costs in County Jails


It is the intent of the Montana Association of Counties to clarify laws pertaining to assignment of costs for incarceration of felons held in county detention centers.

WHEREAS, county detention centers are required by law to hold and detain any person lawfully arrested; and

WHEREAS, county detention centers must continue to hold and detain inmates for undefined periods of time based on release conditions imposed by the outside parties; and

WHEREAS, county detention centers hold significant numbers of previously convicted felony level offenders under the supervision of the Department of Corrections while those offenders are processed through revocation proceedings; and

WHEREAS, county detention centers hold previously convicted felony level offenders who, while under the supervision of the Department of Corrections, commit new crimes and are processed through the court system; and

WHEREAS, county detention centers hold significant numbers of convicted felony level offenders who are awaiting sentencing primarily because the Department of Corrections is completing screening and assessment prior to sentencing; and

WHEREAS, convicted felons facing revocation of their underlying sentences and/or new criminal charges are treated as pretrial detainees and the Department of Corrections is not responsible for the costs of pretrial incarceration; and

WHEREAS, the cost of incarceration of convicted felons awaiting sentencing is not being assigned to the Department of Corrections; and

WHEREAS, the costs for operating county detention centers are disproportionately borne by the local property tax payers; and

WHEREAS, a significant number of inmates held in county detention centers are in custody solely because of process issues or failure to comply with the supervision conducted by the Department of Corrections.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Montana Association of Counties will seek to establish legislation to assign the costs of incarceration of convicted felony offenders to the Department of Corrections.

2016 ACTION

SPONSOR:  Lewis & Clark County
REFERRED TO: MACo Justice & Public Safety Committee; and MACo Resolutions & Legislative Committee
ADOPTED:  Annual Conference, Billings, MT, September 21, 2016