11 counties test Indiana’s bail bond relief pilot program

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Washington Post on 7/7/2019 by Associated Press

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) – Officials in Porter County and 10 other Indiana counties are testing a risk-assessment program to determine whether people who have been arrested should be required to post bail while awaiting trial.

Melanie Golumbeck, Porter County’s chief adult probation officer, said Indiana’s pretrial release program that launched in March 2017 evaluates jail inmates’ ability to pay. The program is part of a nationwide effort to decrease legal inequalities that allow people with money to bond out of jail, while those of limited means remain behind bars. The evaluation determines the likelihood the inmates will return to court for hearings or reoffend during the pretrial period, she said.

Douglas Lang, supervisor of the Porter County pretrial program, said the assessments usually occur within 24 hours of arrest.

The program is set to go statewide next year.

Porter County conducted around 600 assessments during each of the pilot program’s first two years, and has conducted 390 assessments so far this year, Golumbeck said. People accused of misdemeanors and felonies are considered by the program, the (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.