criminal justice

Gov. Holcomb Pardons Six Ex-offenders

Nov 21, 2017

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb this week issued six pardons for ex-offenders.

The governor, with recommendations from a state board, considered 21 applications from ex-offenders looking for a pardon – which strikes felony charges from their record.

The six men chosen were convicted of crimes like theft, attempted fraud, and battery. But they have since become pastors, barbers and motivational speakers.

All six served their sentences more than ten years ago.

Holcomb spokesperson Stephanie Wilson says the criteria for receiving a pardon is rigorous.

State Exec. Branch To Stop Asking For Criminal History On Job Apps

Jun 29, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb says a range of state agencies will no longer ask job applicants if they have been arrested or convicted of a crime.

The executive order, issued Thursday, aims to give Hoosiers with criminal records more chances to become state employees.

Right now, applicants for state job openings have to self-report any criminal history.

Holcomb’s order says this can make it hard for people with records to “have productive lives because of the stigma of their past.”

A group of current and former inmates from Dearborn County Jail talked about their experiences in the Jail Chemical Addictions Program. (Photo by Drew Daudelin)

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill says the state’s treatment options for drug addiction are inadequate. Now he’s formed a coalition of government, healthcare and law enforcement leaders to make the case for reform.

A group of current and former inmates from Dearborn County Jail spoke at the Public Safety Coalition’s first meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Currently, 32 states have laws that set up guidelines for victims of some crimes to meet with the offenders. The precursor to these programs was established in Elkhart County in 1977. It serves around 800 cases annually.

The program is now threatened with a funding cut.

Many of the cases that go through the program look like Robert Perry’s. Not so long ago Perry was struggling with addiction and decided to rob a store.

Daniel Messel To Face Life Sentence In Prison

Sep 21, 2016
Michael Coghlan / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/

A Brown County judge will sentence a Bloomington man Thursday for the murder of 22-year-old IU student Hannah Wilson. 

Daniel Messel faces up to 85 years in prison.

A jury convicted Messel in August of murdering Hannah Wilson in April, 2015. Murder in Indiana carries a sentence of 45-65 years.

But, the jury went on to establish Messel as an habitual offender, since he was previously  convicted of at least one other felony.

That adds up to 20 years to his sentence.

Derek Key / https://www.flickr.com/photos/derekskey/

A multi-agency team – including judges, prosecutors, public defenders, mental health professionals and law enforcement – are using data-driven pilot programs to enact criminal justice reforms and improvements. 

But the end-results could be a generation away.

State of Indiana / http://in.gov/

 A legislative committee responsible for studying issues within the state’s criminal justice system has a particularly crowded agenda this year, and some lawmakers are questioning whether some of those topics – including Indiana’s sexual assault crisis – will get the attention they need.

The Corrections and Criminal Code committee was assigned 20 different topics to study this summer.  No other committee has more than ten items on its agenda; most have around five.  Topics include offender job programs, elder abuse, human trafficking, and the underreporting of sexual assault. 

Scott Wagner / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lonewolfhdr/5694061342

Monroe County officials are beginning work on a program they hope will reduce the number of people in the county’s jail and keep offenders from missing court appointments.

Using a $40,000 grant from the Indiana Supreme Court, the Monroe County probation department will start what’s called a pretrial release program.

It consists of a probation officer meeting with low-level offenders, screening them, then recommending whether they should be released to home detention or another community corrections program instead of being kept in jail while they wait for a trial.