Criminal Justice Reform in Indiana


In 2010, the state of Indiana began to realize that it was spending a great amount on its criminal justice system and not getting much back from it in return. That year, the governor asked organizations to research different ways that it could improve the system and reduce recidivism. Through their research, these organizations found that 37% of the inmate population that was released in 2013 recidivated and returned to prison and the younger the offender, the more likely they are to be incarcerated again within three years. Of those that recidivated, 47% returned because of a new crime, while 52% returned because of a parole or probation violation. This latter statistic indicates that this number could’ve been a lot lower had parole and probation requirements not been unnecessarily technical. Finally, the study found that inmates who have contact with their family and friends and participate in prison work release programs are less likely to return to jail or prison.


The Indiana DOC created a program called the Community Transition Program (CTP). The purpose of this program is to successfully integrate offenders back into their communities after they have served their time in jail or prison. The offenders that are eligible for CTP are those who have been sentenced to two years or fewer, or have active warrants, pending charges or detainers.

In early 2020, Indiana lawmakers passed legislation creating the Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council to investigate and address overcrowding, pretrial services, and behavioral treatment and rehabilitation services.


With CTP, Indiana has already seen a considerable drop in the relapse of offenders. This program not only helps ex-offenders stay out of prison, it also helps those who are eligible to stay connected with their family and community. Hopefully Indiana will initiate further reforms with its new Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council.

Identification of legislation should not be considered an endorsement of support of, or opposition to, such bills.