[r40] Criminal justice funding legislation passes out of House

Posted by: Lindsay Devlin  | Monday, February 23, 2015

STATEHOUSE –State Representative Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) authored House Bill (HB) 1006 which creates a funding mechanism to support local communities provide alternatives to incarceration, working to reduce recidivism. The bill, co-authored by State Representative Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), passed unanimously out of the House today.

“HB 1006 is an integral part of the criminal code reform that the General Assembly has been working for the last six years,” said Rep. Steuerwald. “By establishing alternatives to incarceration, this legislation creates the framework to fund and provide locals the resources they need to create programs that address and reduce recidivism.”

HB 1006 would create the Justice Reinvestment Community Grant Program, administered through the Indiana Judicial Center (IJC). The IJC would award grants to assist with the establishment and maintenance of a community corrections program, help communities develop and maintain alternatives to incarceration and to reduce recidivism.

Additionally, by providing alternatives to incarceration, the grants work to promote the development of problem solving courts, probation services, mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment to list a few. In order to fund the grant program, $80 million has been included in the budget bill, HB 1001, and at least 75 percent of funding must be used for evidence-based practices for mental health and addiction.

“Our goal, by reforming Indiana’s Criminal Code, was to get smart on crime and implement evidence-based practices that reduce recidivism and create a safer communities,” said Rep. McMillin. “We have seen other states like Texas implement a similar program successfully, and not only did they dramatically reduce recidivism, by  providing more personalized mental and behavioral health treatment, but also closed a prison and saved a significant amount of tax dollars.”

In 2007, Texas was one the first states to create a justice reinvestment program. It was intended to provide treatment to offenders through drug, alcohol and mental health programs, rather than just administering justice through incarceration. Since the program was implemented, the prison population decreased by over 5,000 inmates, crime rates and recidivism has been reduced by over 5 percent and Texas was able to close a prison for the first time, which was estimated to save the state around $3 billion.

Visit www.iga.in.gov for more information about HBs 1006 or 1001.