conduct an empirical study of the impact of existing sentencing policies and practices on Montana's criminal justice system, including state prison capacities, local jail and detention center capacities, community supervision and parole resources, judicial operations, public defense expenditures, and law enforcement responsibilities;
identify strategies to safely reduce incarceration in state prisons and to promote evidence-based diversion programs and other effective alternatives to incarceration;
investigate the factors contributing to recidivism, evidence-based recidivism reduction initiatives, and cost-effective crime prevention programs;
consider issues regarding disparity in the criminal justice process, including but not limited to racial and ethnic disparity issues;
identify opportunities to:
streamline and simplify the criminal code; and
balance sentencing practices and policies with budget constraints;
prepare a report of findings and recommendations for submission to the 65th legislature, including evidence-based analysis and data; and
make a recommendation to the 65th Legislature as to whether the commission should continue in existence.
The commission is composed of four legislators, one district court judge, the director of the Department of Corrections (or the person designated by the director), a county attorney, a private criminal defense attorney, a probation and parole officer, a county sheriff, an employee of the Montana Department of Justice, an employee of the Office of State Public Defender, and three members appointed by the governor.
Two of the 15 members must be enrolled members of a state-recognized or federally recognized Indian tribe located in Montana.
SB 224 requires the Legislative Services Division to provide staff services to the commission.