In Montana, the Parole and Executive Clemency Act deals with pardon and parole laws.
Board of Pardons and Parole
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-104, the board of pardons and parole is responsible for executive clemency and parole. The board meets monthly at a place determined by the board and at other times and places that the board considers necessary. The principal office of the board is in Deer Lodge. The board appoints hearing panels to conduct parole hearings and to issue a final decision concerning parole. If the two board members of the hearing panel are unable to reach a unanimous decision, the presiding officer of the board convenes a panel of three board members as soon as is practicable to rehear the case. The hearing panels have the full authority and power of the board to order the denial, grant, or revocation of parole.
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-109, the board and the board’s hearing panels may hold any hearing via interactive videoconference, may hold an administrative review via telephone conference, and, at the applicant’s request, may hold a clemency hearing via telephone conference.
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-202, within the 2 months prior to a prisoner’s official parole eligibility date or as soon after that date as possible, the department makes the prisoner available for a hearing before a hearing panel. The hearing panel considers all available and pertinent information regarding the prisoner, including:
1) the circumstances of the offense;
2) the prisoner’s previous social history and criminal record;
3) the prisoner’s conduct, employment, and attitude in prison;
4) the reports of any physical and mental examinations that have been made; and
5) written or oral statements from any interested person or the interested person’s legal representative, including written or oral statements from a victim regarding the effects of the crime on the victim. A victim’s statement may also include but is not limited to the circumstances surrounding the crime, the manner in which the crime was committed, and the victim’s opinion as to whether the prisoner should be paroled. The victim’s statement may be kept confidential.
Penalties for Disobedience
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-207, any person who without just cause fails or refuses to attend and testify, to answer any lawful inquiry, or to produce records, books, papers, and other documents if it is in the person’s power to do so in obedience to a subpoena of the board or any member of the board shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200, by imprisonment for not longer than 60 days, or by both. Each day that a violation continues is considered to be a separate offense.
Conditions of Parole
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-215, a prisoner while on parole remains in the legal custody of the department but is subject to the orders of the board. When a hearing panel issues an order for parole, the order must recite the conditions of parole. If restitution was imposed as part of the sentence, the order of parole must contain a condition to pay restitution to the victim. The prisoner may not be paroled until the prisoner provides a biological sample for purposes of Title 44, chapter 6, part 1, if the prisoner has not already done so under 44-6-103 and if the prisoner was convicted of, or was found under 41-5-1502 to have committed, a sexual offense or violent offense as defined in 46-23-502. An order for parole or any parole agreement signed by a prisoner may contain a clause waiving extradition.
Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-215 provides that whenever a hearing panel grants parole to a prisoner on the condition that the prisoner obtains employment or secure suitable living arrangements or on any other condition that is difficult to fulfill while incarcerated, the hearing panel may grant the prisoner a furlough, not to exceed two 10-day periods, for purposes of fulfilling the condition. While on furlough, the prisoner remains in the legal custody of the department and is subject to all other conditions recited by the hearing panel.
Duration of Parole
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-216, a prisoner on parole is considered released on parole until the expiration of the maximum term or terms for which the prisoner was sentenced. The period served on parole must be considered service of the term of imprisonment, and subject to the provisions contained in 46-23-1023 through 46-23-1026 relating to a prisoner who is a fugitive from or has fled from justice, the total time served may not exceed the maximum term or sentence. When a prisoner on parole has performed the obligations of the release, the board must make a final order or discharge and issue a certificate of discharge to the prisoner.
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-217, a prisoner who commits a crime while imprisoned in a state prison or while released on parole or under the supervised release program and who is convicted and sentenced for the crime must serve the sentence consecutively with the remainder of the original sentence. However, the prisoner remains eligible for parole consideration in regard to the original sentence. If paroled from the original sentence, the prisoner must begin serving the subsequent sentence.
Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 46-23-218, the board may adopt any rules that it considers proper or necessary with respect to the eligibility of prisoners for parole, the conduct of parole and parole revocation hearings, video conference hearings, telephone conference administrative reviews, progress reviews, clemency proceedings, the conditions to be imposed upon parolees, the training of board members and auxiliary members regarding American Indian culture and problems, and other matters pertinent to service on the board.