Basic services, 2017

  • Overall

    Mostly state operated

  • Detention

    Locally operated

  • Probation

    State operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

In Montana, juvenile detention and delinquency services are organized at mostly the state level. The Montana Department of Corrections’ Juvenile Division, a state executive corrections agency, administers commitment to state facilities and aftercare. Detention is primarily administered by county or regional executive entities. District courts administer probation services; however, youth court probation officers are employees of the state.

Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Montana Department of Corrections, Juvenile Division administers commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities and aftercare services for youth leaving those facilities.

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and diversion decision is at the discretion of the juvenile court intake officer.

No statutory time limit/s for court diversions exist.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is not allowed in Montana's juvenile correctional facilities. Juveniles may be confined for safety and security reasons but must be released when the youth gains self-control.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

Release decisions for youth committed to the Montana Department of Corrections are made by the Superintendent of the facility. The department determines the release date based upon length of stay guidelines it has established. The release date of a juvenile is based on the juvenile's disposition. The facilities have recently adopted the Ohio Youth Assessment System which is administered during intake, once the youth is approved for release, and during parole.

Risk assessment, 2020

Organization 2013 2017 2020
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Montana, juvenile probation is administered locally by district courts. Montana uses the Back on Track (BOT) Pre-screen and Full Screen, which is also known as the Positive Achievement Chant Tool (PACT). The use of a risk/needs assessment is required by state statute. Information from the BOT is used to develop/inform pre-disposition investigation reports and/or planning, develop probation disposition recommendations to the juvenile court, assign probation supervision level, and develop probation case plans.

The state is able to aggregate case level data and uses it to support local reliability and validity testing of instrument.

Sex offender registration, 2015


Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Back on Track

Mental health screening, 2014

Does not require a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

In Montana, there is no specific mental health screening instrument for probation. They use a risk assessment instrument, the Back on Track, which has a mental health domain. All youth being placed out of home receive a mental health evaluation to determine the setting that would best suit their needs. Children’s Mental Health requires the Children Adolescent Needs and Strengths instrument (CANS) for youth placed in a therapeutic setting.

Juvenile corrections facilities administer the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, 2nd Edition (MAYSI-2).

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

The Agency Coordinating Council created a list of resources with emphasis on Evidence-based Programs (EBPs) for prevention. Most prevention programs are federally funded. Intervention programs are not state funded and couldn't be implemented due to lack of resources (mainly funding/staff). Each agency funds their own program evaluation activities. The state does not fund any training or technical assistance related to the implementation of EBPs. There is no statewide sourcebook or directory for EBPs. The Inter-Agency Coordinating Council for Prevention gives priority to EBPs when implementing new programs.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Study populations

The group(s) of youth being studied in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Re-offense events

Events that are used to measure recidivism in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Follow-up periods

Details regarding the length of time and frequency that youth are tracked in states that publicly report recidivism data.

12 months


Additional levels of analysis provided in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • County

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race/ethn.

  • Risk level

  • Initial offense

  • Re-offense

  • Prior history

The Montana Supreme Court Office of the Court Administrator publishes recidivism rates for youth both during and after probation supervision. Recidivism while youth are under supervision is defined as committing another offense prior to the previous intake's disposition end date. Recidivism after disposition end date is defined as a youth committing another offense within 12 months of their disposition end date.

Data sources

Youth Court At-A-Glance January 2014
Montana Supreme Court Office of the Court Administrator

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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