Corrections has deadline to move prisoners from jails

BILLINGS (AP) — The state Department of Corrections has an upcoming deadline to minimize the number of state inmates being held in county jails while awaiting room in state facilities.

If the department doesn’t have its jail population down to 250 inmates by Jan. 1, it will lose $1 million in state funding. The Billings Gazette reports the state still needed to move 60 to 70 inmates out of county jails as of earlier this week.

The penalty was included in the state budget bill passed by the 2017 Legislature. County jails that are already overcrowded were holding 410 state inmates this summer, although the state has budgeted for only 250.

Corrections officials say the agency can avoid another $1 million penalty by holding its jailed population at about 250 and implementing a plan to reduce recidivism by January 2019.