House Bill 1004 would provide judicial flexibility
STATEHOUSE (Jan. 11, 2021) – The Indiana House of Representatives today voted in support of State Rep. Randy Frye's (R-Greensburg) legislation to help address jail overcrowding and boost local resources to fight crime.
Frye, chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Public Safety, said House Bill 1004 would provide judicial flexibility so Level 6 felony offenders can be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction. The state often offers greater access to mental health and addiction treatment services than many local jails.
"This bill could help reduce local jail overcrowding and free up resources on the local level by allowing judges to send felony offenders to DOC," Frye said. "I live in a very rural area, and the options for mental health and drug addiction are limited. If we can help these folks get help by sending them to DOC and getting them connected to more resources, I think all of us win."
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute's 2021 annual evaluation of Indiana criminal code reform, nearly 75% of all criminal filings were Level 6 felonies. The report also found 4 of the top 10 felony filings for 2021 were substance related, such as possession of methamphetamine, syringe possession and operating while intoxicated.
Frye said these efforts could help reduce local jail overcrowding and allow locals to redirect public safety resources to where they matter most. According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute's latest data, 77% of Indiana's jails are overcrowded or at capacity.
Several organizations voiced support for House Bill 1004, including the Indiana Department of Correction, Indiana Judges Association, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and Indiana Sheriffs Association.
Frye's legislation now moves to the Indiana Senate for further consideration. To learn more and watch legislative proceedings, visit [iga.in.gov]iga.in.gov.