Senate passes House bill addressing government accountability

Posted by: Courtney Scott  | Friday, February 21, 2014

State Representative Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) has authored legislation regarding internal issues in the Department of Corrections (DOC), which passed the Indiana Senate yesterday with a vote of 44-0.

House Bill (HB) 1070 requires the Indiana DOC Ombudsman to create a monthly report that includes a summary of the findings of all substantiated complaints. The Ombudsman may also conduct investigations of alleged violations of department policy, state or federal laws, and department administrative rules at any department facility.

“If you visit the ombudsman’s website, you will see that these monthly reports are already being conducted and posted,” said Rep. Mayfield. “This bill isn’t expected to significantly increase the workload of the DOC Ombudsman Bureau, but it is important to put this in statute. Just because the reports are being done now does not mean the current ombudsman’s successor would do the same. This ensures that the practices which have improved DOC over the years will continue on.”

Based on the investigations conducted by the ombudsman, he or she may then recommend changes to the commissioner of the DOC concerning department policies or practices, giving them increased input and providing weight to their findings.

“This bill is primarily about accountability,” said Rep. Mayfield. “This lets Hoosiers know that if there is a problem within the IDOC, it will be investigated, and a resolution will be proposed.”

HB 1070 will now go back to the House for concurrence because it was amended in the Senate.