NOTICE: Carbon County Development Permit On-line Application and Process Guide  

SB 442 Override Letter - April 6

Detention Facility Planning

***The next Public Information Presentation will be held on
July 20th 6:00pm Luther Community Church***

(and the final presentation will be July 21st 6:00pm at Belfry School Multi-Purpose Room)


The Citizens of Carbon County have a public safety issue that must now be addressed as this issue has only worsened with passing time. More and more, law enforcement deputies are being pulled from their service within our County in order to transport inmates to detention facilities located up to 4 hours away.  In this capacity, deputies may spend an entire shift outside of Carbon County.  On District Court days, there is almost complete elimination of law enforcement coverage for the County as all of the deputies are required to transport inmates back to the County for proceedings. Therefore, if a crime — violent or otherwise — were to occur, response time is in the hours timeframe.  Citizens deserve a solution providing a safer community.


Overcrowding in prisons on a national-level is well-covered in media, but Montana is no exception.  Since the closing of Carbon County’s jail at the Courthouse in Red Lodge in 2001, deputies began transporting prisoners to Billings.  When Billings reached capacity and became costlier, deputies were required to drive farther to Bozeman.  When it, too, reached capacity, deputies were required to drive farther to Forsythe and even Townsend. These facilities have also reached capacity.  Carbon County is faced with three options:

  1. Jeopardizing public safety by not detaining those who have committed crimes (ex: DUIs, outstanding warrants);
  2. Sending its deputies to facilities in farther reaches of Montana at greater cost while compromising safety for deputies and Carbon County citizens without law enforcement; or
  3. Returning a Detention Facility to Carbon County to ensure public and deputy safety.


Carbon County has acquired a suitable property consisting of 13 acres at 9520 Hwy 212 in Joliet, completed preliminary design of the facility, and calculated construction and operational cost estimates.

The Board of Commissioners will hold a Special Mail Ballot Election on August 3, 2021 for the Construction Bond and Operating Levy. Both ballot measures must pass for the facility to move forward.  Ballots will be mailed 15-20 days in advance. If you have any questions, please attend one of the Public Information Presentations held throughout the County, or call your Commissioner or Sheriff.