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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Montana violates law by housing adults in youth prisons, audit says

Associated Press

HELENA – An audit says the Montana Department of Corrections is breaking the law by housing youth and adult offenders in the same facility and by contracting to send girl offenders to a youth prison in Idaho.

The department is placing adults in both the Pine Hills Youth Correctional facility for boys and the Riverside facility for girls.

The Legislative Audit Division report says state law prohibits the department from placing youths in facilities where adult offenders are carrying out their sentences.

Montana’s girl offenders are now being sent to a prison in St. Anthony, Idaho. The audit says such contracts are allowed only when the youth prison population is over capacity, and Montana’s is not.

DOC director Mike Batista says the department is required to maximize resources, and there was excess capacity at the two prisons.