MMIW Cases

Sovereign Bodies Institute filed this request with the Department of Corrections of Montana.
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Sovereign Bodies Institute


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Montana Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Data on all cases of deaths in custody involving an Alaska Native/American Indian woman or girl victim within your jurisdiction(s). For the purposes of this request, "Alaska Native/American Indian" is defined as any individual who was identified as a member of an Alaska Native or American Indian community or as having Alaska Native/American Indian heritage. "Woman or girl" includes all victims identified as females, as well as transgender women.

This request is for basic information on cases as classified above. Such information may include but is not limited to inmate name, location and date of death, age of inmate, cause of death.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days.

Sincerely,

Annita Lucchesi

From: Department of Corrections

Ms. Lucchesi:

The Montana Dept. of Corrections statistics unit has only three staff. At this time, they are working to meet deadlines for the Department's biennial report to the legislature, as well as mandatory statistical reporting to the legislature on the package of criminal justice reform measures passed by the 2017 Legislative Session. To meet these demands, the statistics unit has had to put other data requests on hold.

However, information on inmate deaths is reported each year to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. You will find data on deaths in Montana prisons on the BJS website: https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=19. In particular, see https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/msp0114st.pdf.

Judy Beck
Director of Communications
Montana Department of Corrections

From: Sovereign Bodies Institute

Ms Beck,

Thank you for the clarification, I look forward to receiving the requested records when the statistics unit is able to fill the request. This request is actually pertinent to the interests of the state legislature--it is part of a study on violence against Native women and girls in the state, which is being provided to the State-Tribal Relations Committee in their work drafting legislative interventions to reduce the rates of violent deaths and disappearances of Native women and girls.

Thank you,
Annita

From: Department of Corrections

Ms. Lucchesi:

As Ms. Beck relayed to you, the Montana Department of Corrections statistic unit has been overwhelmed with deadlines for the Montana Legislation session, and continues to be. The statistics unit is continuing to put other data requests on hold at this time. I would ask for a clarification in date range for your request. As soon as they are able to address your request and determine ability to respond and cost of compiling information, you will be contacted. Please do respond with the date range for this request.

Thank you,

Amy Barton
Interim Director of Communications
Montana Department of Corrections

From: Sovereign Bodies Institute

Ms. Barton,

Thank you for your response. This information is crucial, as a new non-profit organization working with compiling information of missing and murdered indigenous women. It is has become an epidemic in recent years. While we understand your department is inundated with the Montana Legislation session, this is information needed as soon as possible. We would prefer this information within 10 business days, and if extra time is needed, please contact us and let us know.
Thank you so much,

Louwana Montelongo
Research Assistant
Sovereign Bodies Institute

From: Sovereign Bodies Institute

Ms. Barton,

My apologies, however I am following up on the previous email. I misunderstood your question regarding a date range, however we are looking for whatever you all have on record. We would like if you could provided information from as far back as possible to present day.
Thank you again,

Louwana Montelongo
Research Assistant
Sovereign Bodies Institute

From: Department of Corrections

I am getting several responses from this request so I hope that this answers for both yourself and Ms. Lucchesi.

Ms. Montelongo:

Your request was received by our IT department and the response to their ability to respond is that the Department of Corrections does not keep data on victims. They are able to generate information regarding offender deaths in custody if you are wanting that without the victim information.
Regards,

Amy Barton
Interim Director of Communications
Department of Corrections

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