MTPR

private prisons

Sally Mauk: Welcome to a special edition of "Capitol Talk" our political analysis program I'm Sally Mauk And I'm joined by University of Montana Political Science Professor Rob Saldin and veteran Capitol Reporter Chuck Johnson.

Chuck, the Legislature met in special session for three days this week to deal with a $227 million budget shortfall. And they've come up with a combination of cuts and transfers and fees to deal with it but not with any new tax increases as the governor had proposed. Republicans of course control the House and Senate, and Chuck they got a lot of what they wanted out of this special session.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

The Republican party’s keystone bill to patch the state budget passed Montana’s House and Senate Wednesday afternoon nearly along party lines.

House Bill 2 is a package of bills Republican leaders are pressing forward with. Democrats say HB 2 handcuffs them into choosing between the better of two evils. House Bill 2 is the Republicans’ plan to make permanent the $76 million in budget cuts Governor Steve Bullock put in place Tuesday.

The special session of the Montana Legislature got underway with lawmakers still at odds with the Bullock Administration on how to deal with the projected $227 million budget shortfall. One sticking point remains over a proposal to accept $30 million in exchange for extending the contract for a private prison in Shelby another 10 years should be part of the mix. 

GOP Budget Plan Hopes To 'Corral' Governor

Nov 13, 2017
Rep. Rob Cook
Montana Legislature

Shelby prison deal could be Bullock’s “one exit”

As state lawmakers lay the groundwork for a special legislative session to tackle Montana’s $227 budget shortfall, the proposed GOP deal for how to plug the gap is coming into focus.

At the same time, two independent sources have confirmed to the Montana Free Press that Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, in “in talks” with top executives of CoreCivic, the owners of a private prison in Shelby that is at the center of the 2017 special session’s most contentious proposal. CoreCivic is offering to return $30 million in state money set aside for the eventual purchase of the 664-bed prison in exchange for a 10-year renewal on its contract to operate the facility. That contract is up in 2019.

Michael Cotter, former U.S. attorney for the district of Montana.
U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. Justice Department announced this week it's phasing out its use of private prisons. The government’s directive will affect 13 privately run prisons holding over 22,000 inmates.

Montana U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter tells MTPR its impact, while significant, will not be felt at north-central Montana’s Crossroads Correctional Center:

Pages