Community correction program directors caught between a rock and a hard place may get some breathing room if a bill that would allow the revocation of inmates’ credit time gets the governor’s signature.
House Bill 1080 received a unanimous yes vote on third reading from the full Senate on Monday, launching the measure to its last destination before potentially becoming law. HB 1080 provides that the Indiana Department of Correction may adopt emergency rules concerning the deprivation of an inmate’s earned good time credit — an issue sparked by a 2017 Indiana Supreme Court ruling in Shepard v. State.
Despite having been entitled to 190 days of good credit time, Richard Shepard was deprived of 225 days by the Vigo County Community Corrections program director after he violated numerous rules that led to the revocation of his suspended sentence. An Indiana Court of Appeals panel found that the program director had the authority to revoke Shepard’s credit time, but the high court concluded otherwise when justices found community corrections directors had not been delegated authority by the DOC to revoke an inmate’s good time credit for disciplinary purposes.
While presenting to a Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee last week, Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, noted that the high court’s ruling found Indiana Code section 35-38-2.6-6(d) did not expressly give the community corrections director authority to deprive good time credit, but that the DOC was not unable to promulgate such a rule going forward.
With that, Steuerwald advocated HB 1080 would help foster various levels of authority within the community corrections system with the chief goal of deterring inmates from violating community corrections rules and being placed in the DOC or jail.
The measure initially received approval from the House last week with a 95-2 vote. No third reading discussion was held on the measure Monday, but it ultimately passed 46-0. House Enrolled Act 1080 now moves to the governor’s desk.