INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is proposing major reforms to the criminal justice system, including a new jail and a focus on keeping offenders with mental health or substance abuse issues out of jail.
The proposals come in response to findings by the City of Indianapolis Criminal Justice Reform Task Force.
The task force has spent the last seven months examining the existing practices, gathering community feedback and identifying opportunities for systemic reform within the city’s criminal justice system.
The new, proposed jail, would house up to 3,000 inmates and replace all existing facilities.
It would be a part of a larger criminal justice campus built by the city and would include a consolidated civil and criminal courthouse.
The proposed jail would also include an assessment and intervention center where staff could evaluate people who are arrested and suffering from possible mental health or substance abuse issues. There they could connect them with short-term treatment and referrals.
The proposal, based on recommendations from a task force assigned to study the criminal justice system, is focused on keeping non-violent offenders with mental health and drug addiction issues out of jail.
"I applaud the efforts of this committee and endorse their recommendations for reforms within the Marion County Criminal Justice System. The reforms announced today expand the options and resources available to our officers. The end goal is to implement steps to ensure a person's mental and physical well-being is properly addressed and not just the illegal behavior of the particular situation," said IMPD Chief Troy Riggs.
Another way to do that is through proposed crisis intervention training for both police and 911 dispatchers.
“I’m encouraged by the way he described it. I think we are going to be helping people up and down the continuum, making the common sense decision who needs to be put in jail, prison and who needs to be put in treatment programs,” said Gregg Keesling with Recycle Force.
The estimated cost of the new criminal justice campus is between $500 million - $600 million