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Proposed legislation aims to reduce jail overcrowding in Indiana

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Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 11:52 AM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Indiana House of Representatives this week voted in support of legislation co-authored by State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) to help reduce jail overcrowding and boost local resources to fight crime.

House Bill 1004 would provide judicial flexibility so Level 6 felony offenders can be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction.

Officials say the state often offers greater access to mental health and addiction treatment services than many local jails.

According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s 2021 annual evaluation of Indiana criminal code reform, nearly 75% of all criminal filings were level six felonies.

The report also found four of the top 10 felony filings for 2021 were substance-related, such as possession of methamphetamine, syringe possession and operating while intoxicated.

McNamara said these efforts could help reduce local jail overcrowding and allow locals to redirect public safety resources to where they matter most.

According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s latest data, 77% of Indiana’s jails are overcrowded or at capacity.

The legislation now moves to the Indiana Senate for further consideration.

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