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Burst pipe at Montana State Prison causes brief relocation of inmates

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Posted at 9:57 AM, Jan 18, 2024

The Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) said several inmates from one of Montana State Prison’s low-security units were briefly relocated on Wednesday after a frozen pipe burst as it was being thawed.

A DOC press release said 159 inmates were relocated to the Low Side gymnasium as staff repaired the burst pipe, and the inmates were returned to their unit within a couple of hours.

Another burst pipe in a different low-security building caused Wi-Fi and phone outages when water leaked on hardware used to supply service to inmates in the unit. The issue was quickly resolved and service was restored Wednesday afternoon, according to the release.

“We continue to have people and resources in place to address these weather-related issues at our facilities as they come,” said DOC Director Brian Gootkin. “These incidents occurred on MSP’s low-security side, reinforcing the need for the major infrastructure overhaul supported by the governor and legislators during the legislative session last year.”

The issues caused by burst pipes at the prison follow another winter-weather related incident on Friday when a boiler failed at the Work Reentry Center. The boiler was quickly repaired Friday night.