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Yellowstone County, Montana
Detention Facility
Detention Facility History Contact Department

The Yellowstone County Detention Facility.

Picture of Yellowstone County Detention Facility

The first jail in Yellowstone County was constructed in 1884 at 401 N. 27th, currently the Yellowstone Art Museum. This jail was in use until 1961 when a new jail was built on the 8th floor of the County Courthouse, located at 3rd Ave. North and North 27th. In 1981, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on the deteriorating conditions and uncorrectable physical characteristics of the jail. A court order was issued by a U.S. District Judge to the Sheriff and Board of County Commissioners to correct the deficiencies. It was determined that it would not be cost efficient or feasible to renovate and expand the existing Jail at the Courthouse.

Under the leadership of Sheriff Mike Schafer with the cooperation of the Board of County Commissioners and many interested citizens, plans for a new Yellowstone County Detention Facility were begun. The new/current Detention Facility is located at 3165 King Avenue East. This Facility was dedicated on August 21, 1987.

The original design of the Facility allowed for the safe keeping of 174 inmates, on a ten- acre site, allowing for future expansion. By 1995 the inmate population had exceeded the original built capacity and plans were begun to expand with two "dormitory-type" units to house 100 more inmates. Construction of the expansion units was started in June 1996 and opened, January 1997.

A standard housing unit inside the facility.

The Yellowstone County Detention Facility operates under the "Direct Supervision" concept. This concept represents what has been commonly referred to as the "New Generation" in jails. The Direct Supervision philosophy focus's on the concept of control through effective staff presence and interaction. The Yellowstone County Detention Facility was the first and is still the only truly Direct Supervision Facility in the State of Montana.

A work detail unit.