(1) The purpose of the parole guidelines is to structure and guide parole release decisions and decisions relating to imposition of release conditions. Guidelines are a tool that ensure that members of the Board of Pardons and Parole (board) consider the identified factors when reviewing individual cases. Guidelines are not, in themselves, dispositive of the board's decisions. They provide a framework to facilitate reasonable consistency in paroling decisions.
(2) The board will consider in its guidelines the following factors in decreasing order of importance:
(a) The resulting score contained in a validated risk and needs assessment instrument administered to the offender by trained and certified corrections personnel and provided to the board for parole purposes. The resulting score on the risk and needs assessment is based on a point-range of 0 to 6 with 0 being low risk and 6 being very high or high risk, depending on the assessment instrument used. General validated risk and needs assessment instruments reviewed by the board are the Montana Offender Reentry and Risk Assessment (MORRA) for a male offender and the Women's Risk/Needs Assessment (WRNA) for a female offender. Sub-population or specialized assessments are reviewed if they are made available to the board. Sex-offender assessments are administered by a sex offender treatment therapist meeting the qualification standards set in ARM Title 20, chapter 7, subchapter 3. If both a general assessment instrument and a sub-population specific instrument are administered to an offender, the higher of the two scores will take precedence.
(b) Risk reduction program and treatment completion, scored as follows:
(i) 0 points for completion of all required programming, no programs recommended, or sentence did not allow sufficient time for completion;
(ii) 1 point for current enrollment in risk reduction programming;
(iii) 2 points for being on the waitlist for risk reduction programming; or
(iv) 5 points for refusal to participate in or having been terminated from risk reduction programming.
(c) Institutional behavior, scored as follows:
(i) 0 points for having no infractions in the past 6 months;
(ii) 2 points for having major infractions but no highest severity infractions within the past 6 months; or
(iii) 3 points for having any highest severity major infraction in the past 6 months.
(d) Severity of the offense currently being served by a parole-eligible offender under 46-23-201, MCA, scored as follows:
(i) 0 points for non-violent; or
(ii) 2 points for a violent offense or a sex offense as those terms are defined in 46-18-104, MCA.
(3) Generally, an aggregate score of 0 to 8 points under (2)(a) through (2)(d) weighs in favor of the offender and an aggregate score of 9 or more points under (2)(a) through (2)(d) weighs against the offender. The board is not bound to grant or deny parole based solely on the aggregate score.
(4) For purposes of applying the parole guidelines set out in (1)(c), the Board adopts the list of institutional infractions and the characterizations of their severity currently used in "state prisons" as that term is defined in 53-30-101, MCA. The current list will be maintained by the board on its website https://bopp.mt.gov/ at all times.
(5) Board decisions concerning imposition of parole release conditions are based in part upon the domains evaluated by the risk and needs instruments. These include, but are not limited to: Education, Employment and Social Support; Substance Abuse and Mental Health; Criminal Attitudes and Behavioral Patterns and upon indicated treatment recommendations contained therein.
(6) The board may develop one or more forms to use in applying the guidelines.