One of the youngest women ever held at Montana State Prison was Evelyn Donges, then 16. She was convicted for luring a man into a robbery on September 11, 1951. He was beaten and later died. Details are available at https://mthistoryrevealed.blogspot.com/2016/06/
(This story first appeared in the Sunday features section of the Helena, Mont., Independent Record, on August 14, 1977. I wrote it after women held captive at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge were moved elsewhere. In those days, the women’s unit held only few female offenders. Today, Montana has about 200 inmates in the women’s unit, now in Billings.)
By Kevin S. Giles
DEER LODGE, Mont. — It was a long time ago, it seems, when the women were here.
The row of empty cells – four of them – are dark and damp.
One is empty. Its mattress is rolled and stacked at one end of the bunk, which is cyclone fencing stretched across a metal frame.
In another, books of salvation are scattered across the bed. The gleam of a faraway window bounces off one cover, illuminating its title: Prison to Praise.
A third is the home of a ghost. The bedding has been thrown aside, as if the cell’s occupant was startled by the cold metallic clank of a cell door, and stood for a smoke, or was awakened by a nightmare of the past.