Montana’s Prison Population Growing Quickly

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – A new report summarizes how Montana’s growing prison population has boosted corrections spending over the last three decades, and recommends putting more money into alternative programs.

The report by the Pew Center for the States finds that one in 44 adults in Montana is in the corrections system. Some 6,300 people are in prison or jail, and more than 10,000 are on probation or parole.

The report counted state and federal inmates.

It says that while Montana’s per capita incarceration rate lags rates in most other states, it does not escape a nationwide trend of rapidly escalating costs. In 1983, each prisoner cost the state $27.83 per day. By 2008, that figure was a daily $84.29.

The Pew report says states should put greater emphasis on probation and parole programs, which last year cost less than $5 daily per offender.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.