HELENA – Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) Director Reginald D. Michael on Wednesday announced that inmates in the 25-bed infirmary now in Lewistown will be moved to a new special-needs unit at the Riverside Correctional Facility in Boulder.
“Our decision to close the Lewistown facility and repurpose our Riverside Correctional Facility was driven by our current budget deficit and operational needs,” Director Michael said.
The department had formerly proposed closing the Lewistown infirmary in June, but was unable to find alternate placements for most of the inmates. There are currently 21 inmates with serious, long-term medical conditions still in the Lewistown facility, a secure wing that is part of the Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center (MMHNCC). The Corrections wing opened in 2012 and employed nine department security personnel, including eight correctional officers and one supervisor.
The Riverside facility currently houses a program for adult females – the Riverside Recovery and Reentry Program. Montana has two DOC-contracted women’s treatment facilities and there was not a population to support a third program.
The 22 women now in the Riverside program will either be placed in the community for treatment or moved to a contracted treatment program by October 9. The Boulder facility will then be retrofitted as a secure facility for 25 Montana State Prison inmates. Director Michael expects the Riverside facility to begin operating as a special-needs unit by December 1 of this year.
Three positions at Riverside will be eliminated. The others will be retained with possible position transfers to other correctional facilities. Once Riverside is repurposed, it will need additional nursing staff.