Formerly incarcerated people react to Montana State Prison suspending visitation

The Montana State Prison will suspend in-person visitation due to “staffing shortages” effective Oct 31. Below, people who were formerly incarcerated at MSP shared their thoughts on this news:

Clemente Arciga, Criminal Legal Reform Advocate: “Most inmates have little to none of a relationship with the outside world. When the State takes away these visits, they are taking away part of their humanity.”

Cody Marble, MTIP Freed Client: “Visiting is where the incarcerated person looks and feels most human, talking and eating with their families, getting to be a dad to their children, a husband to their wife, hold them and touch them, it’s the most wonderful thing left that has not yet been taken away by the state. Unfortunately, certain elements of the Department of Corrections, not everyone, but enough of them, are always very eager to take away the last place where the incarcerated person feels most human for no reason or any reason at all, the visiting room.”

Dave Wilkes, MTIP Freed Client: “So once you’re inside, your outside world in the eyes of the admin or prison guards doesn’t matter to most. Yeah, there’s a few who “care” or act like they do, but for the most part “who gives a shit,” right? You’re locked up, and you did the crime so quit your bitchin’, and do the time. This was a recurring problem at CCA at Shelby as well. They were short staffed and underfunded, which is amazing considering the money that both of these prisons get. It’s truly disgusting that if someone, say an inmate, is doing well and has family to come visit that they would do this to us. They also usually send people from one part of the state so far away that their families a lot of times can’t visit due to cost of gas, lodging, say a hotel, or whatever. But yeah, it’s total bullshit in my eyes, but that’s also a biased opinion.

Benny Lacayo, Welcome Back Community Organizer: “The State is responsible for the care and mental health for those men! Those visits give you hope in a place that steals your humanity!