2019 Montana House Bill 763
On May 10, 2019, Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed HB763 into law, providing state policy on restrictive housing, which is defined as confinement to a cell for at least 22 hours a day for the safe and secure operation of the facility, including administrative segregation, protective custody, and disciplinary detention. The new law creates requirements for restrictive housing units—regarding admission and release, periodic inmate reviews, health and mental health treatment, staffing, and other conditions of confinement—requirements specific to youth facilities, and requirements for community notifications when an individual is released to the community directly from restrictive housing units. Under this law, facilities cannot house individuals in restrictive housing who are pregnant or postpartum, absent an exigent circumstance, and youth facilities cannot use restrictive housing, aside from temporary confinement in protective custody for a maximum of 24 hours. It also limits the use of restrictive housing for those with serious mental illness—unless a multidisciplinary service team determines there is an immediate and present danger to others or the safety of the institution—to no more than 14 days and increases the amount of treatment available for these individuals. The law also calls for step-down programs for individuals in segregation for more than 30 days.
Keywords: Governor Bullock, young adults, juveniles, pregnant, postpartum, step down program, transition program, juvenile facilities, mentally ill.