Inmates transferred as part of the Great Falls Regional Jail exchange
GREAT FALLS – Local, state and federal correctional and law enforcement agencies across Montana teamed up this week to exchange Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) inmates and US Marshals Service inmates between the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby and the Great Falls Regional Jail.
The DOC said in a press release Thursday that the move was the culmination of a plan announced earlier this year following an order from President Joe Biden to the US Department of Justice to phase out its contracts with private prison companies such as CoreCivic, owns and operates the Crossroads Correctional Center.
“Cascade County saw this as an opportunity to help the US Marshal Service respond to the President’s order, while reducing overcrowding at the GFRP by moving inmates from the Department of Corrections from Montana to Crossroads,” he said. Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said. “The US Marshals have fewer inmates than the DOC, which allows us to use this space to keep more people who pose a danger to our community off the streets.”
Sheriff Slaughter on the transfer of prisoners
DOC Director Brian Gootkin agreed that the end of the state’s contract with Cascade County for 152 beds at the GFRP was in the best interests of all parties, including the inmates. The 2021 Montana legislature agreed to end the regional jail contract with Cascade County, allowing the move.
“Crossroads has more services available related to recreation space, education, behavioral health, religious offerings and more,” Gootkin said. “It is essential to the ministry’s mission to create a safer Montana through accountability, rehabilitation and empowerment. This collaboration agreement certainly goes in this direction.
In the past two days, DOC has transferred 65 detainees from DOC to Crossroads.
In addition to the DOC, US Marshals, CoreCivic, and the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, agencies involved in the transfer included the Montana Highway Patrol and the Pondera County and Toole County Sheriff’s Offices. Support measures were also in place in the event that medical problems arose during transport.
“I felt this operation was one of the most professional and best executed missions I have ever been on, from team leaders to every operator,” Acting US Marshal Timothy Hornung said. He added that transporting prisoners was an important operation by Montana standards.
Carrefour director Pete Bludworth said CoreCivic was happy to be able to adapt to the new distribution of inmates.
“One of the ways we provide value to our partners is to provide flexibility in how they manage their populations,” said Bludworth. “We are also proud of the strong reintegration programming and comprehensive services provided to Crossroads and we stand ready to support our partners as their needs evolve. “