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New Indiana rule adds risk assessments for booked inmates

Criminal Rule 26, which set Indiana’s new pretrial release protocols, was adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2017 but it didn’t take effect statewide until Jan. 1.

Posted: Jan 5, 2020 10:22 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2020 12:21 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new Indiana rule requiring that booked inmates be assessed to determine risks or benefits of releasing them before trial is expected to eventually reduce overcrowding at the state’s county jails, criminal justice officials said.

Criminal Rule 26, which set Indiana’s new pretrial release protocols, was adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2017 but it didn’t take effect statewide until Jan. 1.

The new system requires that inmates be released on bond or recognizance unless they present a “substantial risk of flight or danger to themselves or others.”

It also mandates that an evidence-based risk assessment be used to help make that determination.

The rule’s expansion to all 92 Indiana counties comes after 11 counties volunteered to try it out under a pilot program that began in 2016.

In one of those pilot counties, northeastern Indiana’s heavily populated Allen County, the approach has aided low-risk offenders who don’t have the resources to post bond, said Jeff Yoder, executive director of Allen Superior Court’s criminal division services.

“It’s allowed a number of low risk folks to be released instead of sitting in jail for days or weeks on end because they can’t afford a bond,” Yoder told the Post-Tribune.

The new rule, which requires collaboration between local criminal justice entities, has the potential to decrease jail populations, but it varies from county to county, said Mary Kay Hudson, executive director of the Indiana Office of Court Services. She said the required risk assessments do not replace a judge’s discretion.

“It is designed to be additional information to inform the court’s decision. The judge always retains discretion,” Hudson said.

Clark County courts began implementing practices in 2017 ahead of the rule taking effect, starting with Clark County Circuit Court No. 4. By mid-2019, all four of the southern Indiana county’s circuit courts were using the system.

The idea behind the new rule is to get someone assessed as quickly as possible after their arrest to present that information to the court, said Danielle Grissett, a quality assurance officer for Clark County Probation.

Ideally, a staff person working within a county jail talks with each inmate before their initial hearing to determine their risk of failing to reappear if they’re released, or their danger to the community.

Officials pull each person’s criminal history and if the person is employed, officials will reach out to their employer to verify information, Grissett told the News and Tribune. She added that substance abuse or mental health issues will also be examined, with the aim to get the inmate set up with treatment if needed.

The assessment report is then given to the prosecutor, the judge and a defense attorney, who speaks with each inmate to get more information. A public defender is on hand to speak with inmates who may not yet have counsel.

That information is then presented to the court to help the judge determine whether a lowered bond or release is appropriate and, if so, what type of pretrial monitoring the defendant should face while out of jail.

Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael said the practice has already shown a more meaningful exchange within courtrooms. She said that “it’s really going to make a huge difference in our ability to assess the individual and not (just) the crime.”

“The idea is that we have had over the years a number of people who have been incarcerated pretrial who simply couldn’t post a $250 bond,” Carmichael said. “And then you have somebody who has a $25,000 bond because they’re higher risk and they post it because they have the money.

″...Poor people were being held without being able to post bond more than those who could and it really made no sense.”

Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he has concerns with parts of the new system the county has implemented and thinks it needs to be re-evaluated.

“My opinion as the prosecutor is that in Clark County, far too many people are being released without a bond or too low of a bond,” he said. “I also see many people who are out on one bond commit additional crimes and still be allowed to be on the street.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
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Angola
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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