All male offenders entering a secure facility in Montana are initially sent to MDIU for orientation to the prison system and assessment. Inmates are typically in MDIU for approximately 80 days, but may be there for up to 120 days.
Orientation of new inmates is held from 8:30 to 10:45 a.m. every Wednesday in the MDIU B Block classroom.
Each orientation includes the following presentations:
- Warden's orientation - Associate Warden for Programs speaks and provides information on STEPS and New Directions.
- Steps to Economic and Personal Success – STEPS has been available to Montana State Prison inmates since 2009. STEPS teaches offenders how to change their way of thinking about themselves, their lives and their criminal background. MSP inmates who show a commitment to the program are trained to become mentors for other offenders in the program.
- New Directions – This program teaches inmates how to think in a way that helps them focus on successfully transitioning into society.
- Inmate presentation – Two inmates tell their stories and what they have done to better themselves during their incarceration.
- Policies and procedures – A case manager provides a PowerPoint presentation that goes over policies, procedures and the general information each inmate needs to know when first entering prison. The case manager is available to answer inmate questions. Subjects covered include:
- MDIU Unit Operations
- Religious Activities
- Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Reporting
- ADA Accommodations
- Custody Levels
- HIV information – Medical staff from Montana State Prison presents information about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) information and offers HIV testing.
Inmates in MDIU are allowed to receive mail and make phone calls. See the Contacting an Offender section of the Family and Friends page. However, visiting in person is not permitted at MDIU.
Inmates housed at MDIU for over 30 days who do not yet have anyone on their approved visiting list may request a one-time money transfer from an immediate family member.
Evaluation and assessment
Medical assessment and services:
- Inmates complete a medical form immediately upon their arrival at MDIU. The information they provide is then reviewed by health care staff to ensure that any emergency health care needs are addressed as soon as possible.
- Nursing staff perform an intake assessment on all inmates upon their arrival at MDIU to ensure that any developing or urgent health needs are met. This screening process includes structured questions and observations designed to:
- identify potential emergency situations among new arrivals and get them rapid medical care
- prevent inmates who pose a threat to their own or others’ health or safety from being admitted to the facility’s general population
- ensure that inmates with known illnesses and/or who are on prescribed medications are identified for further assessment and continued treatment
- assess any dental needs
- evaluate any need for a physical accommodation due to a qualified disability
- A physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner performs a Health Assessment and Physical Examination (H&P) within seven days of an inmate’s arrival. Medical staff:
- evaluate the inmate’s health status and ask the patient about symptoms
- complete a physical examination of the inmate to determine any physical signs of disease
- provide additional testing and preventative screenings such as baseline lab work to screen for infectious disease and overall disease management
- Nursing services are available seven days a week to provide treatment and education to inmates with healthcare needs. A medical clinic staffed by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner is available five days a week to ensure continuity of care for inmates with healthcare needs.
Mental health assessment and evaluation
- In nearly all cases, mental health services, including evaluations, are voluntary and inmates have the right to decline mental health services if they choose.
- Newly arrived inmates are told how to access mental health services and what to do if they experience a mental health emergency.
- Inmates are offered an opportunity to sign a release of information form that allows mental health staff to request the inmates’ past mental health records to aid in assessment and treatment.
- Within two weeks of arrival at MDIU, each inmate receives a brief mental health screening, which is usually completed by a mental health technician. Based on the results of this screening, inmates who need additional evaluation and assessment are referred to a licensed clinician. This additional assessment is completed within 30 days of admission.
- Inmates who may have developmental or learning disabilities are also offered an assessment at MDIU.