Unofficial Draft Copy
67th Legislature LC 1481
1 _____________ JOINT RESOLUTION NO. _____________
2 INTRODUCED BY _________________________________________________
(Primary Sponsor)
3
4 A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF
5 MONTANA REQUESTING AN INTERIM STUDY OF PRETRIAL DIVERSION PROGRAMS AND
6 PRESENTENCE DIVERSION AGREEMENTS.
7
8 WHEREAS, a presentence diversion agreement allows a defendant and a prosecutor to agree to
9 suspend the prosecution for a criminal offense on entry of a guilty plea if the defendant abides by certain terms
10 in the agreement; and
11 WHEREAS, the terms of a pretrial diversion program or a presentence diversion agreement typically
12 will require that the defendant obtain a chemical dependency evaluation and complete the recommended
13 treatment as well as comply with other accountability measures or required programs based on the individual's
14 needs; and
15 WHEREAS, if the defendant successfully completes the terms of the pretrial diversion program or the
16 presentence diversion agreement, the criminal charge or charges against the person can be dismissed and will
17 not appear on the person’s criminal history; and
18 WHEREAS, if the defendant does not successfully complete the terms of the pretrial diversion program
19 or the presentence diversion agreement, the defendant will face court proceedings for the criminal offense or
20 offenses; and
21 WHEREAS, eligible defendants in pretrial diversion programs or presentence diversion agreements will
22 typically include low-risk, low-need defendants charged with possession of illegal drugs or drug-related offenses
23 and who need addiction services and treatment and not incarceration; and
24 WHEREAS, involvement in the criminal justice system and a criminal conviction can have lasting
25 negative impacts on a person years after the offense; and
26 WHEREAS, presentence diversion agreements are used to divert low-risk, low-need individuals from
27 the criminal justice system; and
28 WHEREAS, the crimes are directly related to the defendant’s abuse of drugs, alcohol, or both; and
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Unofficial Draft Copy
67th Legislature LC 1481
1 WHEREAS, a pretrial diversion program or a presentence diversion agreement can allow a defendant
2 to obtain and complete treatment outside of a secure facility; and
3 WHEREAS, increasing access to pretrial diversion programs and presentence diversion agreements
4 for certain defendants could reduce caseloads for prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and the Department of
5 Corrections, while also prioritizing jail and prison bed space for other offenders; and
6 WHEREAS, intervening early through pretrial diversion programs and presentence diversion
7 agreements and providing treatment for underlying addiction issues will create cost savings for the criminal
8 justice system and improve outcomes for offenders.
9
10 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF
11 THE STATE OF MONTANA:
12 That the Legislative Council be requested to designate an appropriate interim committee or statutory
13 committee, pursuant to section 5-5-217, MCA, or direct sufficient staff resources to study how to establish
14 pretrial diversion programs and a uniform presentence diversion agreement in the state.
15 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the study should:
16 (1) identify Montana jurisdictions that currently operate a pretrial diversion program or a presentence
17 diversion agreement and examine the structure, scope, funding, eligibility criteria, and procedures for those
18 programs;
19 (2) review national best practices for pretrial diversion programs and presentence diversion
20 agreements;
21 (3) examine pretrial diversion programs and presentence diversion agreements in other states,
22 including their structure, scope, funding, eligibility criteria, and procedures;
23 (4) review existing Montana statutes that create or support opportunities for individuals to be diverted
24 from the criminal justice system; and
25 (5) review the available funding sources for pretrial diversion programs or presentence diversion
26 agreements and the cost shift and savings realized through a pretrial diversion program or a presentence
27 diversion agreement that diverts people from the criminal justice system and into treatment and addiction
28 services.
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1 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if the study is assigned to staff, any findings or conclusions be
2 presented to and reviewed by an appropriate committee designated by the Legislative Council.
3 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all aspects of the study, including presentation and review
4 requirements, be concluded prior to September 15, 2022.
5 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the final results of the study, including any findings, conclusions,
6 comments, or recommendations of the appropriate committee, be reported to the 68th Legislature.
7 - END -
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