An Indiana Supreme Court ruling that directors of community corrections programs are unauthorized to revoke good time credit would be sidestepped under a bill advancing in the Statehouse that would enable directors to make such revocations.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee voted 7-1 Tuesday to advance House Bill 1080 to the full Senate. The bill provides that the Indiana Department of Correction may adopt emergency rules concerning the deprivation of earned good time credit for a person placed in a community corrections program.
The measure was drafted in response to an October 2017 Indiana Supreme Court decision in Shepard v. State that found community correction directors had not been delegated authority to revoke an inmate’s good time credit for disciplinary purposes by the DOC.
In that case, the Vigo County Community Corrections program director deprived inmate Richard Shepard of 225 days of good time credit for violating numerous community corrections rules. Justices found that although Indiana Code section 35-38-2.6-6(d) did not expressly give the community corrections director authority to deprive good time credit, the DOC could promulgate such a rule in the future.
Steuerwald said HB 1080 would do just that.
“All this does is give the DOC emergency rule-making authority to authorize work release to take away good time credit,” he told the committee.
“We have to have various levels within the system which gives people with authority the ability to have a stick and a carrot to get these people to comply with their rules. Giving them this ability hopefully will keep some people out of jail or the DOC as opposed to putting them there,” Steuerwald continued. Without this option, he added, the remedies could be more dramatic.
The bill previously garnered the House’s approval with a 95-2 vote.