February 2014 Update
Hope all of you are staying warm and busy. The Law and Justice Committee had another meeting this month and it was pretty much the same old line from the DOC and Board. The committee did have more questions for the DOC and Board to answer next meeting, such as What do offenders have to pay as far as programs and other mandatory things they make you do. The board and DOC say they are going through some changes because of new assessment tools being put in place. It seemed to me that so far the committee was leaning toward making it a requirement that the Board record all hearings with video or audio. The question then became how long to store and who can access and how will offenders access. So these things have to be worked out and put into a bill. Good time was also brought up and met a lot of resistance. The problem seems to be the same as always- who will get it and how will it work. So this also has to be worked on, there are a lot of good ideas on how to do it they just need to figure it all out. Attorney Chuck Watson brought up the fact that it is against the law for the Board to violate offenders on things that are not in the original sentencing the judge imposed. Sen. Larry Jent said he would like to see the parole board accountable to the legislature and remove the exemption status that they have. There is a lot going on in committee meetings and they are still listening and asking good questions of the Board and DOC. I’m still hopeful and GOD is still in control so keep praying for our leaders. I will be testifying in the April meeting and turning all the surveys and other paperwork we have collected over to the committee. Your voices are the only ones that have not been heard yet so I am sure it will make a big impact. I am glad we waited until then, here is the update on where we stand with surveys.
Beds Surveys Beds Beds Surveys
- Gt. Falls 150 16 MSP 1457 176 Shelby 537 38
- Glendive 141 25 MWP 194 18
The next committee meeting will be in late April so as you can see we could use more surveys so we will keep collecting surveys until then so please consider helping us with this project. Your voices are very important and this is one way for them to be heard. The committee did acknowledge that they have heard from a lot of prisoners and families and that is why they are doing this study and investigation. This committee does want to make a difference its our time now to help them do just that so please help us reach those that have not heard about us yet and what we are doing.
We need Advisory Board members in all facilities to help us get the word out. If you are interested in being on that Board please let me know so I can send you the app. Just as a reminder Advisory Board members receive the newsletter and update every month FREE. Those of you that answered our survey and questions will also receive the newsletters and updates for the rest of this year. The other way you can receive both of those is by making a $5 donation to Connections. We are registered with the DOC financial office so you can have it taken out of your account and sent to us if you chose to go that route.
Lastly we are still collecting Supervision Fee Forms for the class action. I have no problem sending those to you to spread around just let me know if you need anything and I will get it to you.
Thank all of you so much for your prayers and support and for helping with the collection of surveys. You guys are AWESOME!!!!! Much love and many blessings to all of you.
Connections Box 4142 Bozeman, MT 59772