May 11, 2023

New measure aims to reduce prison-to-homelessness pipeline

The bill came out of a task force that studied issues related to homelessness in Indianapolis. - WFYI file photo

The bill came out of a task force that studied issues related to homelessness in Indianapolis.

WFYI file photo

Newly signed legislation aims to avoid the so-called prison-to-homelessness pipeline for people who end up in Indianapolis after incarceration.  

The bill came out of a task force that studied issues related to homelessness in Indianapolis. One problem they identified was that people were being transported to Indianapolis after time in prison without a plan. Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) authored the bill and said the new law will prevent that issue.

“Put requirements on the Department of Corrections to be a little more proactive to make these folks, if you’re going to take them to a county that’s not their county of residence, that we know this is being done in a way that they’ve got support services,” Moed said.

The measure requires that people be transported to their county of residence at the time of their arrest. It does not prohibit people’s transport to Marion County – but if they are there, the law requires better coordination with reentry programs, including housing. 

Moed said coming to Indianapolis makes sense for some people.

“Sometimes people have burned all the bridges in their home and then need to start over somewhere, and we didn’t want to prohibit that from happening if it is being done thoughtfully,” Moed said.

The DOC estimated more than 200 people a year were being taken to Indianapolis after their release.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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