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Montana State Prison Heating Crisis Resolved After Five Days

05 Nov 2023, Jail News, Prisons, by brian

Montana State Prison: The 5-day heating crisis is now resolved. Explore the urgent need for infrastructure upgrades.

Montana State Prison Heating Crisis Resolved After Five Days - Inmate Lookup

A press release from the Department of Corrections on Wednesday reported that Montana State Prison now has access to heat again. This comes after a system breakdown last week, which resulted in 51 inmates being left without heating.

On Friday, the heating system malfunctioned, resulting in a lack of heat for inmates in the low-security section of the prison for five days.

The Montana Department of Corrections cited this incident as an example of the necessity for infrastructure enhancements at the prison. The press release also stated the prison’s maintenance team had to order a new part and hire a contract plumber to address the issue with a 25-year-old boiler.

During the five days when 51 inmates at Montana State Prison endured freezing temperatures in Deer Lodge due to a heating system failure, prison staff provided inmates with space heaters, extra blankets, clothing, and warm beverages, recognizing the severity of the situation. According to the National Weather Service, the coldest it got when the prison lost heat was negative 5 degrees.

Montana Department of Corrections Director Brian Gootkin expressed relief when the heating system was restored. Yet he underlined the urgent necessity for infrastructure improvements that received approval from the 2023 Montana Legislature. Gootkin stressed that the low-security unit, constructed in the 1970s, is in line for a replacement, with over $200 million designated for facility enhancements.

Gootkin drew attention to the dangers stemming from years of neglected maintenance and delay in addressing infrastructure concerns, emphasizing that the longer the improvements are delayed, the greater the risks are.

In a significant step towards tackling these issues, Architect DLR and contractor Sletten Construction have been recently chosen to oversee construction projects at the facility, which include the replacement of low-security housing. Collaborating closely, the Montana Department of Corrections has been in discussions with the Department of Administration’s Architecture and Engineering Division, the contractor, and the architect over the past month, with plans underway to establish a construction timeline by December 2023, as stated in an email from Carolynn Stocker, spokesperson for the Montana DOC.

 

Source: https://missoulacurrent.com/state-prison-heat/