Montana has only one type of short-term confinement facility in the state called jails. These are on the county level, and there are sixty-three local county jails in Montana. Some of them are called detention centers, and some have no name at all, they are simply associated with the local Sheriff’s Office.
Local Sheriff’s Offices are the law enforcement agency that manages and runs the local county jails. They are responsible for the facilities, the inmates, and all Montana county jail inmate records. Most of the local counties in Montana have a website with information about the jails and an inmate roster or search feature making it easy for anyone to perform a Montana county jail inmate search.
Each of the local county jails in Montana has a maximum number of beds and varying degrees of custody. Some have special units for close or maximum custody levels. They hold pretrial detainees, people who were just arrested (for things like DWIs and petty crimes) and inmates who have been sentenced to short stays in jail rather than prison. Some jails have a volunteer program where residents of the county or surrounding towns may help out with the care and responsibility of inmates held there.
Yellowstone County jail was first constructed in 1884. It was used up until 1961 and then retired. It now acts as the Yellowstone Art Museum. The new jail was built in 1987 and currently houses 274 inmates with varying degrees of custody.
Along with an inmate listing, many of the local jails also provide information for family and friends on visitation, sending money or gifts and the programs and services offered to inmates. Along with regular education, many of them offer participation in AA or NA programs, legal assistance, religious studies, parenting classes, anger management, and stress relief techniques, as well as a GED program so inmates can earn their HS diploma. All of the jails offer bail and bond services as well.
There are roughly 1,800 people in local county jails in Montana. By far, more people are arrested and put in jail in Montana for larceny/theft than any other crime. After that, the most popular reasons are burglary, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft and then robbery, rape, and then murder. About 4,800 per year are arrested for DWIs or DUIs.