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Management Institute and Chief Probation Officer Summit

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on 2/7/2020

March 12 and 13, 2020 at the Drury Plaza Hotel, Indianapolis.

The Probation Management Institute is designed to provide supervisory level staff with ongoing training opportunities in topics related to managing your department. This year, the POPAI Chief’s Executive Committee has chosen to focus on a variety of topics including :

• Community Correction Grant Audits
• Pre-Trial Services
• Updates from the Indiana Office of Court Services
• Court Technology
• Employee Performance Evaluations
• Internal Audits
• Judges Probation Committee Roundtable
• Legislative Updates

POPAI’s Corporate Members will also be in attendance on Thursday to share their information and network with attendees.

The Chief Probation Officer Summit provides Chief Probation Officers an opportunity for networking, information sharing, problem solving and general discussion with colleagues from Indiana’s 92 probation departments.

Learn more and register now

Successor sought for retiring Vanderburgh Superior judge

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The Indiana Lawyer on 1/20/2020 by IL Staff

Lawyers in southwest Indiana who would like to be considered for appointment to the Vanderburgh Superior Court bench have a few weeks remaining to make their interest known to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who will select the successor for a longtime jurist.

Holcomb announced last week that applications will be accepted through Feb. 12 from qualified candidates seeking to succeed Vanderburgh Superior Judge Robert J. Tornatta. The longtime Indiana trial court veteran told the Evansville Courier & Press last week he would retire effective April 3 because of a health issue.

Tornatta served 22 years as a Vanderburgh Superior judge after his appointment by former Gov. Frank O’Bannon in 1997. He formerly had served as a magistrate judge and a court administrator.

Tornatta is one of seven superior court judges overseeing dockets in the state’s eighth-largest county from the courthouse in Evansville.

Advocates, legislators call for marijuana reform in Indiana hours before 2020 session starts

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Chicago Tribune on 1/6/2020 by Alexandra Kukulka

When he was 20 years old, Crown Point resident Ricky “Ricochet” Chandler broke his pelvic bone into nine pieces.

He was prescribed opioids to help with the pain. But, to avoid the negative side effects of opioids, Chandler said he decided to take cannabidiol-based products instead.

“CBD helped me get off opioids and it saved my life,” Chandler said.

Chandler, who runs Willy’s CBD Works in Crown Point, sang an original song about legalizing marijuana in Indiana at a Monday rally at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Roughly 75 state legislators and advocates gathered, ahead of the start of the 2020 legislative session, as part of an Indiana chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and other pro-cannabis organizations state-wide rally for marijuana reform.

The advocates in the crowd, holding signs including “You can’t spell healthcare without THC” and “Healers not dealers,” shared similar stories to Chandler’s: After an accident or to treat an illness, they were prescribed a high amount of opioid drugs. The opioid drugs weren’t helping, and they were worried about becoming addicted or overdosing.

But, according to the advocates, after taking CBD-based products or smoking marijuana, they feel better and beat the illness and pain.

“I am not a criminal,” the advocates chanted at one point. As the speakers talked at the rally, two men from Indy Cannabis Health Dispensary passed out free joints.

The rally kicked off with Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, who has been an advocate for the legalization of marijuana, said she learned over the summer from the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys that in 2018 there were 22,000 arrests in Indiana for marijuana possession.

“It’s the second most arrested crime in the State of Indiana, and it needs to stop,” Tallian said. “There’s no reason on God’s earth that why we should still be arresting people for possession of marijuana.”

The Statehouse “is in the press,” Tallian said, because Michigan and Illinois have officially legalized recreational marijuana, while Kentucky and Ohio are also looking into the issue.

“We are now well behind the times in the State of Indiana,” Tallian said, before pausing to inhale the marijuana-scented air.

On the marijuana front, Tallian said she has proposed three bills for the 2020 legislative session: decriminalize possession under 1 ounce, create a commission to regulate cannabis and correcting a bill from last year related to smokable hemp.

Tallian said marijuana won’t be legalized in Indiana during the 2020 session. But, she hopes the state legislature “will actually listen and understand” that people shouldn’t be prosecuted for marijuana possession.

“I’m going to be very honest with you, we’re not going to get marijuana legalized in this statehouse this year. It’s not going to happen. But, we’re pushing,” Tallian said. “You have to keep doing things one step at a time.”

William Henry, chairman of Indiana NORML, said that “things are changing” around Indiana, but not in the state. He reminded the crowd that change also happens in polling places.

“The ballot box is going to be where a lot of decisions are made in 2020 in the State of Indiana,” Henry said. “If nothing does get done here at the Statehouse for cannabis reform, you’re going to see a change … in these offices with new people standing up for the right thing and doing the right thing for their constituents.”

Jeff Staker, of Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis Inc., told the crowd he has been a medical cannabis patient since 2016. Before then, he used opioids for about 10 years through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs “and running the risk of accidentally overdosing.”

Two years ago, Staker said he talked to state officials about how the opioid crisis is impacting veterans and how cannabis could help prevent death by overdoes or suicide after they stop taking the opioids.

With the state’s inaction, Staker said, veteran death and suicide rates keep increasing.

“The governor’s holding the smoking gun, and our legislators are not off the hook either because they gave him the ammo,” Staker said.

State Rep. Michael Aylesworth, R-Hebron, said he supports medical marijuana because, according to a study he and his staff conducted, 66% of his district supports it.

Aylesworth said he understands “the popularity” of recreational marijuana, but that he supports Gov. Eric Holcomb’s position that marijuana should be regulated at the federal level.

“I want to see the feds do this first,” Aylesworth said.

After a press conference announcing the Indiana House Republicans 2020 legislative agenda, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said until the American Medical Association reports a medical benefit to marijuana he opposes it.

Bosma, who will not be seeking reelection at the end of the session, said he has heard from other legislators in states that have legalized marijuana that there are negative impacts after legalization, like students taking marijuana to school.

“It’s time to sit and see how this shakes out, but after March my objection to it won’t matter,” Bosma said.

But Henry, of Indiana NORML, said he hopes people at the rally and advocates meet with their local legislators and officials to build momentum around marijuana reform.

“It’s an effort of reforming,” Henry said.

COA: Order committing juvenile to DOC until age 18 must be corrected

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The Indiana Lawyer on 1/22/2020 by Katie Stancombe

An order that a juvenile delinquent be committed to the Indiana Department of Corrections until his 18th birthday has been remanded for correction after the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the determinate commitment.

Juvenile F.H.’s troubles began in May 2018 when he was alleged at age 14 to be a delinquent child for having committed an act that would be Level 6 felony auto theft if committed by an adult. He racked up another delinquency petition a few months later for committing an act that would be Level 3 felony attempted armed robbery if committed by an adult. For that, the DOC was ordered wardship of F.H. but his commitment was suspended by the Hendricks Superior Court.

After being discharged early from his placement at the Wernle Residential Treatment Center, F.H. admitted to having committed dangerous possession of a firearm, a Level 5 felony if committed by adult. The juvenile court then entered a written dispositional order committing F.H. to the DOC “until his 18th birthday.”

F.H. appealed, contesting his determinate commitment in F.H. v. State of Indiana, 19A-JV-1716.

The Indiana Court of Appeals found in favor of F.H., noting that a juvenile “is not subject to a determinate term in the DOC absent a specific determination by the juvenile court that statutory criteria have been satisfied.”

“Here, no such determination was made, and the factual record would not support such a determination. The juvenile court abused its discretion by subjecting F.H. to a determinate commitment in the DOC,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote for the appellate court.

It therefore remanded with instructions for the juvenile court to vacate the portion of its order committing F.H. to the DOC until he turns 18.

Tattoo Removal Programs Help Former Inmates Wipe The Slate Clean

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NPR on 1-16-2020 by Judith Kogan

Shane MacLeod spent 14 years in federal prison for armed robbery and he’s covered from head-to-toe in tattoos. The only things not covered are his butt cheeks and the tops of his feet.

Inmates often tattoo one another with makeshift tools. Some get gang-related tattoos, which they consider a matter of survival. Others, such as 41-year-old MacLeod, are simply lured by the art.

“It’s kind of weird, because once you start getting tattoos, it’s like a tattoo fever thing,” MacLeod says. “Ya just keep gettin’ ’em, and gettin’ ’em, and gettin’ ’em, and the next thing ya know, you’ve got all this skin covered, and you’re like, oh my god, what the hell happened?”

But these days MacLeod notices people’s reactions to his tattoos: they’re either repelled or standoffish.

Tattoos can be a barrier for people getting out of prison. They can make it hard to find jobs, to feel safe in certain neighborhoods, to reconcile with family and to leave the past behind. Now there are programs to help inmates with tattoos wipe the slate clean.

Mark Drevno is executive director of the California-based nonprofit Jails to Jobs, which helps former prisoners find employment. He worries about their visible anti-social tattoos, such as swastikas, knives and profanity.

“Those types of tattoos are real job stoppers,” Drevno says.

So his organization has published a national directory of more than 300 free and low-cost tattoo removal programs for formerly incarcerated people. They’re in 42 states.

Drevno says the tattoo removal is essential to finding employment, housing, safety, family reconciliation and healing.

When MacLeod was released from prison two years ago, he had trouble finding work. The problem, his case manager said, was his face and neck tattoos – bold and intricate interlocking curves above fearsome gothic images.

In the upscale Boston office of The Finery, a tattoo-removal business with a special program to remove face, neck and hand tattoos of formerly incarcerated people free of charge, MacLeod reclines with his eyes protected by goggles.

To remove the tattoos, skilled technicians use laser machines to break up the ink particles, which the body then absorbs and flushes out. Sessions are six weeks apart, to allow the skin to heal in the interim. But the process is painful.

MacLeod says it’s like grease that jumps out of a bacon-frying pan and burns your arm. He dreads the pain, but he’s sticking with the program because he’s tired of being pre-judged.

There are his kids, including 6-month-old twins. The others are 6, 16 and 22.

MacLeod’s thinking about their weddings, and school functions with other parents. He wants to blend in.

Carmen Brodie, founder and CEO of The Finery, says of the 150 people who’ve started its special program, nearly 40 have completed it.

“Our biggest difficulty, and the biggest heartbreak in the whole thing, is that a lot of time we’ll let folks into the program, but they have a hard time finishing it, they have a hard time getting here on the day that they’re scheduled for,” Brodie says.

So Brodie’s in talks with Massachusetts’ maximum security prison to bring the program’s mobile unit out there. Tattoo removal before release, she says, would be a gamechanger.

If approved, Massachusetts would join a handful of state prisons with pre-release tattoo removal programs. California is about to expand its pre-release programs from two to 21 locations in the state. The goal is to offer the service to approximately 3,000 offenders per year.

Bill Could Send 12-Year-Olds To Department Of Correction

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Indiana Public Media on 01/29/2020 by Brandon Smith

A Senate committee took hours of contentious testimony on a measure that would lower the age at which children are sent to the Department of Correction.

Major portions of the bill were entirely removed, on the fly, moments before a final vote was taken.

Provisions that remain expand the list of crimes that could send a delinquent child to the Department of Correction. The bill lowers the age of those children to as young as 12. And it potentially puts children in DOC longer.

Big Homies of America’s Shane Shepherd is a former youth offender.

“So, if you put a 12-year-old in the adult jail system that’s never experienced sex, never went through puberty, does not have an identity, what do you think his identity is going to be?” Shepherd says.

Marion County Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn Moores says the data doesn’t support the bill.

“Waiver to adult court causes juveniles to re-offend more seriously, more quickly and more violently.” Moores says. “It just doesn’t work.”

The system is also disproportionately skewed against people of color. But committee chair Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) insists the issue isn’t about race.

“While my skin is white, my brain’s the same color as your brain and my heart’s the same color as your heart,” Young says.

More than two dozen people testified against the bill. Only one person spoke for it – Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council’s Dave Powell.

“It isn’t always just about the offender. There is often a human being or a family that’s a victim,” Powell says. “And they’re often of color. And someone needs to stand up for them, too.”

The bill heads to the Senate floor.

Criminal Rule 26 – New Rules For Bonding Out – Now In Effect

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Times Union Online on 1/1/2020 by Amanda Bridgman

New rules for bonding out of jail are in effect under Criminal Rule 26.

The Indiana Supreme Court signed CR 26 into law to take effect in all courts Jan. 1, 2020, after two years of pilot programs in 11 counties.

The rule is intended to improve pretrial practices in the state by encouraging trial judges to engage in evidence-based decision-making at the pretrial stage. It states:

“(A): If an arrestee does not present a substantial risk of flight or danger to self or others, the court should release the arrestee without money bail or surety subject to such restrictions and conditions as determined by the court except when: (1): The arrestee is charged with murder or treason. (2): The arrestee is on pre-trial release not related to the incident that is the basis for the present arrest. (3): The arrestee is on probation, parole or other community supervision.”

This part of the rule had some people thinking anyone going to jail now gets an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card. That is not the case.

“The bond schedule is still in place,” Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney Dan?Hampton said. “People will still get bonds.”

But for certain charges, and for people who can pass the risk assessment interview, a promise to come back to court is all that will be needed to get out of jail.

“(B): In determining whether an arrestee presents a substantial risk of flight or danger to self or other persons or to the public, the court should utilize the results of an evidence-based risk assessment approved by the Indiana Office of Court Services, and such other information as the court finds relevant. The court is not required to administer an assessment prior to releasing an arrestee if administering the assessment will delay the arrestee’s release.”

Kosciusko County Probation Department officers Tammy Johnston and Rene Osborn went to three days of training to be able to conduct the risk assessments. They were trained in using the Indiana Risk Assessment System – Pretrial Assessment Tool (IRAS-PAT) questionnaire, which consists of seven questions, with multiple-choice answers that are scored between 0 and 2 points. The score at the end is what a judge will use to determine the level of supervision required for the arrestee if they are released.

Continue reading…


DCS worker’s attorney: Client being singled out for returning child to mother

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WTHR on 12/2/2019

ANDERSON, Ind. (WTHR) — Police in Madison County are searching for a DCS caseworker indicted by a grand jury.

It found Spencer Day Osborn should have never returned a 4-year-old boy to his mother. He’s now facing felony neglect of a dependent charges.

Osborn had his initial hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Osborn’s attorney Philip Sheward responded to the indictment, saying his client doesn’t understand why he is being singled out for his role in the incident.

Mr. Osborn does not understand why he is being singled out and charged criminally for returning a child to his biological mother as part of a Child In Need of Services (“CHINS”) case. These decisions are not made by a single caseworker, but in collaboration with their supervisors and child advocates, then ultimately approved by the court.

This criminal case appears to be part of a dispute between Madison County DCS and the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office. DCS caseworkers like Mr. Osborn have been caught in the middle. The Madison County Prosecutor’s Office is trying to legislate changes to Indiana’s child welfare laws through the prosecution of a criminal case. They hope that by prosecuting Mr. Osborn, our legislators feel forced to change our laws. Criminal prosecutions should not be a lobbying tactic.

Filing criminal charges against DCS caseworkers based upon abuse perpetrated by parents on their overloaded caseload will lead to at least two terrible outcomes. First, DCS caseworkers will and should be terrified to ever recommend returning a child to a parent. More children will languish in the foster care system because of this fear. Second, there will be a mass exodus of DCS caseworkers, making the institutional problems worse. DCS caseworkers are already underpaid, overworked, and have near-impossibly high caseloads. Apparently, all DCS caseworkers are on notice that if they do not perform their job perfectly, prosecutors now wish to put them in prison.

-Attorney, Philip C. Sheward

What happened

Continue reading →

Risk assessments for booked inmates take effect statewide

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The Indiana Lawyer on 1/8/2020 by Associated Press and IL Staff

A new Indiana rule requiring that booked inmates be assessed to determine risks or benefits of releasing them before trial is expected to eventually reduce overcrowding at the state’s county jails, criminal justice officials say.

Criminal Rule 26, which set Indiana’s new pretrial release protocols, was adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2017, but it didn’t take effect statewide until Jan. 1.

The new system requires that inmates be released on bond or recognizance unless they present a “substantial risk of flight or danger to self or others.” It also mandates that an evidence-based risk assessment be used to help make that determination.

The rule’s expansion to all 92 Indiana counties comes after 11 counties volunteered to try it out under a pilot program that began in 2016. Continue reading →

Miami Valley Crime Lab to test Indiana drug evidence

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Dayton Daily News on 1/8/2020 by Chris Stewart

The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab will soon be analyzing drug evidence for the Indiana State Police — the first contract with an out-of-state agency and one that may dramatically increase the lab’s caseload and benefit its bottom line.

The contract approved by Montgomery County Commissioners on Tuesday calls for the lab to conduct solid-dose drug testing on about 300 cases a month for the Indiana law enforcement agency.

“It’s a big deal,” said Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger, who oversees the lab that currently tests 450 similar cases a month. Continue reading →

Meth never left Daviess County

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Washington Times Herald on 12/28/2019 by Mike Grant

When the opioid problem hit rural Indiana it appeared that it would have a limited impact on Daviess County. The hit was nothing like the scourge that methamphetamine produced when it rolled into southwestern Indiana in the 1990s. Still, officials say the opioid problem did have an impact.

“About two or three years ago we started seeing CHINS (Children in Need of Support) cases going through the roof here and in about every county in the state and every state in the country,” said Daviess Circuit Judge Greg Smith. “I can tell you our numbers have been about one-third higher than the five years before that.”

Smith’s court handles both CHINS and juvenile cases, while most of the criminal drug cases are heard in superior court. He was working as the county prosecutor when the first wave of methamphetamine cases began to come into the area.

“I remember that,” said Smith. “One of the first busts was a guy from St. Louis who had a recipe for meth and it all went nuts after that.” Continue reading →

Legislation Page Replaces Members Only on POPAI Website

on 1/22/2020 by Karen Oeding

Today, our 2020 Bills to Follow page went live. You’ll find a list of bills that have been identified as interesting to follow by the POPAI Board.

Members will no longer need to log in to view this information. It is now conveniently available to you with a single click from the far right side of the navigation bar at the top of each page.

Since Legislative updates were it’s primary purpose, I’ve retired the Members Only Area.


New suicide hotline number to have three digits like 911

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The Associated Press on 12/13/2019

“No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency,” said the CEO of a suicide-prevention nonprofit. “No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency.”

Federal regulators are setting up a new three-digit number to reach a suicide prevention hotline in order to make it easier to seek help and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

Once it’s implemented, people will just need to dial 988 to seek help, similar to calling 911 for emergencies or 311 for city services. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year. Continue reading →

Uber Sexual Assault Report Spurs Calls for New Government Policies

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Route Fifty on 12/8/2019 by Emma Coleman

New data released by Uber showing almost 6,000 sexual assaults in last two years is prompting some officials to call for new requirements on ride-hailing companies to improve safety.

Stories of people assaulted in ride-hailing vehicles have made frequent headlines in recent years, prompting calls from policymakers for companies to release data on the number of riders and drivers who have been victims of crime.

Uber made good on its May 2018 promise to release that data last week, releasing a report that covers all assault claims and violent crime that happened in its cars or shortly after a ride in the U.S. From 2017 to 2018, there were 5,981 claims of sexual assault, 19 fatal physical assaults and 107 fatalities because of crashes.

Among those who died from assaults, eight victims were riders, seven were drivers and four were third parties. Uber did not release information on who committed the violence. Continue reading →