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Lawmakers Get Update on Bail Changes

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Lawmakers Get Update on Bail Changes

Photo by Branden Barger:Marion County Superior Court Judge Christina Klineman

More low-level offenders are staying out of jail without having to post a cash bond as a part of a program that will go statewide at the beginning of next year.

Lawmakers got an update Tuesday from Marion County Superior Court Judge Christina Klineman on the program, already in effect in Marion and 10 other counties, about the change.

Judges, Klineman told the legislature’s Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code, will have “to start to consider using less cash bonds and doing an evidence-based risk assessment to determine who should be in and who should be out” of jail as they await resolution of their case.

Criminal Rule 26, adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2017, states that any persons arrested who do not present a risk of running away or pose a danger to themselves or others can be released without money bail during pretrial.

Christine Kerl, chief probation officer in Marion County, told the committee that Marion County has completed more than 1,700 risk assessments since January 2017. In all, 73 percent of the people who were allowed to stay out of jail without posting bond have showed up for their court appearances. Others failed by either having a second arrest while free or by not completing a technical requirement of the program, she said.

The Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code is meeting over the next three months to talk more about changes to the criminal code and to review potential legislation, with the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 18.

State Sen. Mike Young, the Indianapolis Republican who is chair of the committee, said Tuesday’s meeting likely will be the shortest of the three meetings that will be held.

“It should take us a long time to get through all of these,” Young said, “because we are going to make a lot of changes.”

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