Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday signed legislation granting the state corrections department the ability to house adult inmates at the Pine Hills Correctional Facility for youth in Miles City.
The arrangement had already been underway at the youth corrections facility on something of a pilot program basis to alleviate crowding at the Montana Department of Corrections adult prisons, Senate Bill 344 sponsor Ken Bogner, a Miles City Republican senator, told a committee in March.
During the March hearing, Bogner said the 120-bed facility had recently held only 26 youth sentenced to prison placement. The DOC began holding men aged 18-26 there in 2016, where they are held out of sight and sound of the youth, following a federal policy.
The bill nearly died in the Senate committee due a provision removing legislative oversight, which the DOC said would have given it a better response time to density issues with populations in different facilities. The Senate passed the bill with an amendment from Sen. John Esp, R-Big Timber, restoring the legislative oversight.