[r76] Rep. McNamara enforces guidelines for inmate education (2/16/2011)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Start Date: 2/16/2011 All Day
End Date: 2/16/2011
STATEHOUSE - Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Mt. Vernon) authored House Bill 1416, which requires inmates to have correspondence courses approved in advance by the Department of Correction (DOC). Co-authors on this bill were Rep. Battles (D-Vincennes) and Rep. Dermody (R-LaPorte).

"This bill will confirm the validity of correspondent courses inmates are using to obtain their high school diplomas," said Rep. McNamara. "It allows there to be a systematic process that ensures all inmates are receiving a legitimate and valuable education."

DOC reports that offenders are attempting to buy diplomas from out-of-state correspondence schools and then claiming to have earned credit time, thus allowing them to receive a reduced sentence. This bill would specify that correspondence courses be approved by the DOC and accredited by the Department of Education. DOC also reports that in the 2010 calendar year it was involved in 110 cases in which offenders claimed earned credit time after receiving diplomas from unaccredited correspondence programs. 

"The program would let inmates know where they can obtain a justifiable education that will allow them to earn a high school diploma and qualify them for a reduced sentence," said Rep. McNamara.

House Bill 1416 received bipartisan support and passed on its third reading at Tuesday's session. The bill will now move to the Senate to receive further discussion.