For immediate release:
Jan. 25, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond) has reached a critical juncture in her efforts to make improvements to Indiana community corrections.
By a 90-0 vote, House members passed House Bill 1102, which would increase collaboration between local criminal justice agencies.
The bill, coauthored by Lawson, focuses on four important actions.
First, it would allow the Department of Correction to provide grants to county jails so that they could start evidence-based mental health and addiction forensic treatment services at their facilities.
Secondly, it would require the Commissioner of the Department of Correction to coordinate with the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to issue grants for community corrections and court-supervised recidivism reduction programs.
“These grants would fund programs that could keep individuals from relapsing to their previous criminal behavior,” said Lawson. “Not only can we help these individuals learn to live better lives, but we can do so while making Indiana a safer place to live.”
The bill would also require that all local criminal justice agencies collaborate to create a community correction plan.
“By working together, these groups, along with the courts, prosecuting attorneys, and other leaders in the criminal justice community, can combine their experience to create a strong plan for the future of community corrections,” commented Lawson.
The bill also specifies that the services would be available for individuals who have been charged with a felony offense or have a prior felony conviction and are eligible for placement in a pretrial service program, community corrections program, prosecuting attorney's diversion program or jail.
“This is an opportunity to lower the rate of criminal activity in Indiana while providing individuals with the care they need to improve their mental health and prepare themselves for reentry into society,” said Lawson.
House Bill 1102, authored by Rep. Gregory Steuerwald (R-Avon) and coauthored by Lawson, Rep. Thomas Washburne (R-Evansville) and Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington), now moves to the Senate for further discussion.