A group of four representatives of the Indiana Supreme Court explained to the House Ways & Means Committee Tuesday morning why the state should give the judiciary millions of dollars for court technology, access to courts and criminal code reform.
Chief Justice Loretta Rush, Justice Steven David, Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Paul Mathias and Indiana Judicial Center Executive Director Jane Seigel presented the courts’ requests – approximately $47 million for fiscal year 2015-16 and approximately $50 million for FY 2016-17.
The biggest chunk of that money would go toward criminal code reform, such as increasing capacity for local probation and community supervision grants. A workgroup consisting of judges, probation officers and Supreme Court agency directors has been assembled to provide support to the Legislature in implementing criminal code reforms.
The group testified that juvenile justice reforms, such as reducing recidivism, shortening length of stays and placing kids in the right place have resulted in a three-year cost avoidance of $167 million.
They seek $11.6 million for the next budget year and $12.8 million for 2016-17 to cover court technology, which currently is not funded by any money from the state’s general fund, according to data presented. That money would help cover costs of e-filing, which will be implemented in state courts beginning this year in phases, and the state-supported Odyssey case management system in use in about half the counties.
The judicial representatives also are asking for $3.6 million for FY 2015-16 and $4.6 million for FY 2016-17 to help with access to courts. Those funds would cover court interpreters and guardians ad litem/court appointed special advocates.
The presentation is available online on the court’s website as well as the handout presented to legislators.