Directors of community corrections programs do not have authority to revoke inmates’ good time credit as a disciplinary measure because the Indiana Department of Correction has not yet delegated that authority to community corrections programs, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday. The decision reversed rulings in the trial court and Court of Appeals.
That decision in Richard D. Shepard v. State of Indiana, 84S01-1704-CR-190, came after the director of the Vigo County Community Corrections program deprived Richard Shepard of 225 days of good time credit. The deprivation was the result of Shepard, who was convicted on a drug charge, violating several community corrections rules, such as leaving the facility to go to work, but not immediately returning when he was informed that he was not needed at work.
As a result, the Vigo Superior Court ordered Shepard to be recommitted to the Indiana Department of Correction to serve the balance of his 11-year sentence. Though he was entitled to 190 days of good time credit, the trial court determined that the deprivation of the 225 days zeroed out his good time credit balance. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in January, finding the community corrections director did not lack authority to revoke the good time credit.
But the Indiana Supreme Court disagreed, with Justice Steve David writing Friday that Indiana Code section 35-38-2.6-6(d) would allow a community corrections program to deprive credit if given specific authority by the DOC, but no such authority has been given yet in Indiana.
“In fact, our legislature has provided for the deprivation of good time credit for offenders directly placed in community corrections, but that statute does not expressly give the community corrections director such authority,” David wrote. “Rather, the statute provides that ‘a person who is placed in a community corrections program under this chapter may be deprived of earned good time credit as provided under rules adopted by the department of correction under IC 4-22-2.’ … However, in the absence of such delegation, only the D.O.C. is empowered to deprive an offender directly placed into a community correction program of earned credit time.”
David wrote the court had no reason to believe DOC couldn’t promulgate such a rule, “But for reasons not known to us, the D.O.C. has yet to delegate such authority. Accordingly, the program director here was without authority to deprive Shepard of earned credit time, notwithstanding Shepard’s violations.
Thus, the case was remanded for the trial court to recalculate Shepard’s earned credit time to include the 190 days he earned while serving in the work-release program.