DOC credit-time policy does not result in disparate treatment

The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected an inmate’s argument in his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Department of Correction’s policy concerning the restoration of credit time for inmates. Because the policy does not result in disparate treatment, the judges affirmed the lower court ruling in favor of the DOC.

Randal L. Young was serving multiple consecutive sentences on seven counts of robbery when he sought 750 days of credit time that he said he was deprived of during his first three years of incarceration as a result of various unspecified disciplinary actions. The DOC restored 173 days of that time. A year later, he filed another petition for restoration of credit time, but he had begun serving time on a new sentence at that point. The DOC denied his petition based on Section IX.E-9(d) of its manual of policies and procedures because the petition was related to a sentence previously completed rather than a sentence he was serving.

Young argued that DOC policy violates his right to equal protection as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution. He claimed that the section of the manual unconstitutionally discriminates against offenders who are ordered to serve consecutive sentences.

“Young proceeds with his claim under the false premise that a person who serves consecutive sentences is, in effect, serving a single sentence. From a legal standpoint, this is simply untrue,” Judge Margret Robb wrote in Randal L. Young v. Indiana Department of Correction, Bruce Lemmon, David J. Donahue, Stanley Knight, et al., 32A05-1403-MI-148.

“Section IX.E-9(d) stands for the unremarkable proposition that once an offender serves out the term of a sentence, he may not later restore credit time deprived during that sentence. This is true of all offenders, regardless of whether the sentence at issue is a single sentence, a sentence served concurrent with another sentence, or a sentence served consecutively with another sentence. Therefore, Section IX.E-9(d) does not result in disparate treatment to offenders who serve consecutive sentences.”

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