FOR RELEASE: January 16, 2018
CONTACT: Judy Beck, 444-0409
HELENA – Department of Corrections Director Reginald D. Michael on Tuesday announced the opening of a new chemical dependency treatment program at Montana State Prison. The Montana State Correctional Treatment Center (MSCTC) today accepted its first 30 inmates.
The secure, remodeled facility that formerly housed the Treasure State “boot camp” program now provides a 90 to 180-day intensive chemical dependency treatment program for prison inmates approaching their release dates.
“It’s critical that we create opportunities for people to stop coming back to prison,” Michael said. “By helping inmates develop responsible thinking, become more accountable and learn the skills they need to overcome addiction, this new program will give offenders a real opportunity to take their lives in a more positive direction.”
Drug addiction presents a growing challenge for Montana’s criminal justice system. A 2016 Council of State Governments’ report presented to the Montana Commission on Sentencing reported a 62 percent increase in drug-related arrests in Montana between 2009 and 2015.
Director Michael said that using a facility separate from the main prison buildings will allow the program to offer a therapeutic environment for the entire day, which is more conducive to effective treatment.
“The therapeutic community being offered at MSCTC is a new way of living, working and experiencing treatment in a correctional environment,” Michael said. “The ultimate goal is to give inmates the tools to cope with the stresses of living in society without relapsing into alcohol or drug use.”
A chemical dependency treatment manager oversees the center’s programming. The center also has three licensed addiction counselors, three case managers and a re-entry coordinator, as well as the correctional officers and other staff necessary to operate a secure facility.
Research into evidence-based practices shows that, to yield the most positive results, treatment interventions should be targeted to those assessed with the highest risk and needs. Inmates are screened using a chemical dependency evaluation and only those with high scores indicating a need for residential treatment, will be accepted into the treatment center. This is consistent with the criteria set by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
The 2017 Legislature approved House Bill 650, which repealed the statutory requirement that the Dept. of Corrections operate a correctional boot camp program, making the conversion to a treatment facility possible.