A new law co-authored by State Representative Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) aims to boost local resources to fight crime and help address jail overcrowding.

House Enrolled Act 1004 provides judicial flexibility so Level 6 felony offenders can be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction. According to Pressel, the state’s facilities often offer greater access to mental health and addiction treatment services than many local jails.

“Jail overcrowding is creating many problems locally and across the state,” Pressel said. “I supported this legislation because it will help free up jail space so that locals can allocate resources where they are needed most. It will also allow for more offenders to receive necessary treatment for addiction and mental health issues.”

According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s latest evaluation of Indiana criminal code reform, nearly 75% of all felony criminal filings were Level 6 felonies. The report found 4 of the top 10 felony filings for 2021 were substance-related: Possession of methamphetamine, syringe possession, possession of a narcotic drug and operating while intoxicated.

This new law only applies to Level 6 felony offenses committed after June 30, 2022.  The law could also help reduce local jail overcrowding and allow locals to redirect public safety resources to where they are needed most.

The new law is backed by the Indiana Department of Correction, Indiana Judges Association, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, and Indiana Sheriffs Association.

HEA 1004 goes into effect on July 1, 2022.