State leaders from all three branches of government say local criminal justice officials should decide how to handle inmates in county jails during the COVID-19 crisis.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, Chief Justice Loretta Rush, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) and House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) released a joint letter to local officials Friday.
That letter acknowledges the greater risk of COVID-19 spread within confined settings, including jails. And because of that risk, the state leaders say local judges, sheriffs and justice partners need to decide for themselves whether to release “low-risk, non-violent” juveniles and offenders into their communities – with supervision.
Those decisions, the letter says, should be based on local resources and capacity, local health decisions and community support, and the individual offenders themselves. “No Indiana-size solution would fit all,” the guidance says.
Holcomb, Rush, Bray and Huston said, “this is not a question of being soft on crime or criminals,” but about adjusting to the unprecedented public health crisis.
Indiana hasn’t taken any steps on early or temporary release from state-run prisons.
This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.