In 2014, the Indiana Supreme Court authorized the development of a pretrial release pilot project in collaboration with Indiana’s Evidence Based Decision Making (EBDM) Initiative. Indiana Criminal Rule 26 is the foundation for 11 counties participating in the pilot project.
Legal and Evidence Based Pretrial
The Indiana EBDM Policy Team, led by Policy Team Chair Justice Steven David and Vice-Chair David Powell, adopted the Indiana Pretrial Pilot Site Expectations. These expectations provide the pilot sites with a framework for developing legal and evidence based pretrial release policies. The EBDM Pretrial Work Group, led by co-chairs Judge John Surbeck and Larry Landis of the Public Defender Council, oversee the pilot project activities. Areas of pretrial policy development include:
- Using pretrial risk assessments to inform release decisions
- Developing pretrial supervision conditions based upon risk for failure to appear or new arrest during the pretrial stage
- Reminding pretrial defendants of their court dates using emails and text messages
- Defense counsel at initial hearing for in-custody defendants
- Collecting data to measure pretrial outcomes
The Expectations are a reference for non-pilot counties interested in developing pretrial policies and procedures.
Pilot Project Support: Training, Technical Assistance, and Funding
The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) provides technical assistance and training to the 11 pilot sites and the Indiana EBDM Policy Team. In August 2017, NIC and the Indiana Office of Court Services convened representatives from Allen, Bartholomew, Grant, Hamilton, Hendricks, Jefferson, and Monroe counties for a four-day pretrial training and strategic planning session. The pretrial pilot project activities, including assessment, supervision, and court reminders, are funded in part by the Indiana Department of Correction and the Indiana Supreme Court.
Coming in 2020!
Criminal Rule 26 was codified in Ind. Code 35-31-2-121.5 et. seq. and is effective for all Indiana courts January 1, 2020. But don’t wait until then to learn more about legal and evidence based pretrial practices.
The Indiana Office of Court Services is available to provide information, resources, and technical assistance to courts interested in getting started.
Please contact Mary Kay Hudson, Deputy Director, at email@example.com for more information or to schedule a site visit to your county.
Pilot Project Highlights
Allen and Hamilton counties: pretrial services are administered through a stand-alone agency that is separate from probation and community corrections.
St. Joseph, Grant, Jefferson and Porter counties: Pretrial services/probation staff complete additional assessments for persons arrested for domestic violence offenses in accordance with local policy.
Hamilton and Monroe counties: All pretrial defendants receive telephone and text message reminders for upcoming court hearings.
Tipton County: Community corrections staff conduct the Indiana Risk Assessment System – Pretrial Assessment Tool and provide pretrial supervision.
Bartholomew County: Persons arrested for possession of heroin or a syringe are screened for behavioral health needs by the local community mental health center.
Hendricks County: Adopted a single pretrial release schedule allowing certain low and moderate risk arrestees to be released on recognizance.