Legislative Updates 2021

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‘Collectively out of balance’: COVID-19 taking toll on mental as well as physical health

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Courier & Press on 12/6/2020 by Mark Wilson

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rolls across Indiana and the nation just in time for the holiday season, experts say it’s important to pay attention to mental health as well as the physical.

“We are seeing a lot of people coming in for help,” said Janie Chappell, a nurse and Senior Business Development Coordinator at Deaconess Cross  Point.

As more people are testing positive for the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness, Chappell said studies are showing a COVID-19 diagnosis also comes with an increased risk of mental illness.

A new study published by Oxford University has found that not only does having COVID-19 increases a person’s chance of developing a psychiatric disorder but having a pre-existing psychiatric disorder could increase the possibility of getting COVID-19.

Supreme Court suspends jury trials due to public health emergency

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Indiana Supreme Court on 12/14/2020 by Indiana Supreme Court

The Indiana Supreme Court handed down an Order Suspending Jury Trials statewide until March 1, 2021, citing the need for drastic measures as COVID-19 continues to surge. In-person jury trials pose an exceptional risk to everyone involved—even if every precaution is taken.

“We have hope that 2021 will bring improved conditions. But hoping is not enough. There is more we must do, and we must act now,” Chief Justice Loretta Rush said about the Court’s latest action to address the pandemic. “Since March, we have been balancing the requirement to keep courts open with the need for public health. The worsening pandemic creates urgency for us to halt jury trials as we maintain all other court operations, including through remote proceedings.”

The Supreme Court has given local courts authority to adjust operations since the beginning of the public health emergency, most recently in a November 10 order. This authority has included holding remote proceedings and streaming public hearings online. In addition, a Resuming Operations Task Force released guidance on managing court proceedings as conditions change, guidance on safely resuming court operations, and protocols for mitigating in-court exposures.

Despite all the measures that have been taken, more than 6,000 Hoosiers have died from the virus, and Indiana has the fourth highest daily cases per 100,000 residents in the nation. By limiting non-essential in-court proceedings, Indiana courts can avoid intensifying the pandemic’s impact on our communities.

More information about the judicial branch response to COVID-19 can be found at courts.in.gov/covid.

Membership 2021: New way to pay for groups online

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on 12/18/2020 by Karen Oeding, POPAI Membership Coordinator

I’ve created a new page for paying group renewals: http://gopopai.org/group-membership-payments/ You can add a membership type, enter the names of your members of that type, then add it on to a cart-type page where you can change the numbers. Does your staff include both Officers and Associates? No problem: just add one then use the “continue shopping” link to add the other.

Too fussy? No problem! Email me ContactUsatPOPAI@gmail.com with your staff list for a custom PayPal interface. I am more than happy to streamline your membership payment.

While we’re still more than delighted and capable of receiving checks at our P.O. Box 44148 Indianapolis, IN 46244 we recognize it’s faster and easier for some to use a credit card.

Department invoices are still available and we welcome individuals to start processing their 2021 membership here. It’s also a great time for Corporate Members to renew here.

Thank you for your commitment to POPAI’s mission by keeping your membership up to date.

IDOC December 2020 Population Report

Graphs about Adult Admission Trend: Old vs New Felony Levels, Facility Population: New Felony Levels, Distribution of New Felony Levels by Most Serious Offense, January 2018-YTD Admission and Release Totals, and Facility Capacity by Security Level are in the December 2020 Indiana Department of Correction HEA 1006: Supplemental Report

Find the more detailed Indiana Department of Correction December 2020 Total Population Summary on the Total Population Summary Reports page.

‘We knew we couldn’t arrest our way out of this issue’ FWPD aims to stop drug addiction

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WANE


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Used needles, spoons with drug reside and a bag from a drug transaction were all scattered in the parking lot of a hotel located on the northwest side of Fort Wayne.

Despite it’s small size, detectives told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that they receive the highest amount of drug abuse related calls from the property. Areas such as that hotel is the reason Fort Wayne Police created its Hope and Recovery Team (HART) program.

Indiana adoption numbers drop during coronavirus pandemic

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WANE on 11/14/2020

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — November is National Adoption Month, and while the Indiana Department of Child Services is reporting a drop in total yearly adoptions for the first time in at least 8 years, officials believe this is just a bump in the road for kids still in our foster system.

The Indiana D.C.S reports 1,577 Hoosier children have been adopted so far in 2020. It is a drop from 2019’s 1,967 children adopted in the state. Director Terry Stigdon said in-person court COVID-19 restrictions were a factor in the drop but not a roadblock for most families like Kiley and Theresa Knoblouch, who were able to continue the process without stepping inside the Allen County Courthouse.

“We actually were on the phone with the judge and the attorneys here in our living room because we weren’t allowed in the courthouse,” said Kiley Knoblouch. “Nonetheless, I think it was a special day for, I think, them and for our family.”

Open Letter to the Pretrial Justice Institute

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by James Austin, Ph.D., JFA Institute; Sarah L. Desmarais, Ph.D., North Carolina State University; John Monahan, Ph.D., University of Virginia School of Law

Re: Response to PJI’s Position on the Abolition of Pretrial Risk Assessment Instruments

Recently the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) re-issued its former statement that argues that all pretrial risk assessment instruments (PRAIs) be abolished.  Their rationale is understandable but fails to account for the state of the scientific evidence on PRAIs.

Abolishing PRAIs and allowing judges to return to—or, more accurately, to continue—the practice of making subjective judgments of what constitutes risk would be a major step backwards. While the use of PRAIs will not eliminate pretrial detention and racial bias, they are a step in the right direction. They also are easier to fix than biased human decision-making.  A review of the full body of scientific evidence on PRAIs supports this viewpoint.

Download Full Letter as a PDF.

POPAI 2021 Membership

by Karen Oeding

POPAI’s Membership year runs from January to December. Anyone who did not already pay for 2021 may do so now by noting “paying for 2021” on the application. Otherwise I will assume the payment is for the year in which it is received.

Department/Group Invoices are ready by request. Just email me: ContactUsatPOPAI@gmail.com. I’ll be following up with everyone so you’re confident of your membership status.

Please feel free to contact me any time with questions.

Thanks to everyone who invests in POPAI’s mission by maintaining your active membership. You make a difference.

 

COVID-19 safety measures in place at Porter County’s jail, juvenile center: No positive cases reported since April

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Chicago Tribune on 11/26/2020 by Amy Lavalley

Efforts including isolation upon intake and limiting arrests are keeping COVID-19 from returning to the Porter County Jail and the Juvenile Detention Center even as the number of cases continues to rise in the community, officials for both facilities said.

The jail reported its first cases of the virus in the spring after a cook at the jail was sick and didn’t know and exposed inmate workers to the virus, said Sheriff David Reynolds, adding at one point, 40 or so inmates were in isolation because they had the virus.

Naloxone now available to each offender upon release from an IDOC facility

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IDOC on 11/10/2020

Indianapolis, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) today announced it will make the opioid reversal agent naloxone available to each offender upon release from an IDOC facility.

“Expanding the availability of naloxone to all offenders upon release from one of our correctional facilities is one way we can ensure these individuals a smooth transition back into the community as contributing members of society, forever removed from justice-involved settings,” said Dr. Kristen Dauss, IDOC Chief Medical Officer. “Substance use disorder is a disease, and IDOC plays a critical role in connecting people to the quality treatment they need.”

Web Exclusive: First impressions of the first COVID-era jury trial

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The Indiana Lawyer on 8/5/2020 by Katie Stancombe

Even with at least three in-person jury trials under his belt since coronavirus-related suspensions were lifted in July, Lake Superior Civil Division Judge Bruce Parent still feels uncomfortable.

The Indiana Supreme Court permitted the first in-person jury trial to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic in Parent’s Lake County courtroom last month. Indiana trial courts were instructed in mid-May not to resume jury trials until at least July 1 without prior approval from the high court.

But as state courts begin to take cautious steps toward in-person proceedings, jury trials in all divisions of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana have once again been suspended through at least August 31. The pause is due to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the state and within the district following a brief resumption of jury trials.

Labradoodle helps vets going through Indiana court program

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Herald Review on 11/28/2020 by Kim Dunlap

Howard County Superior Court II Judge Brant Parry stood in his courtroom last week and looked around like he had lost something.

“You want to see her?” he asked, still looking around the mostly empty room.

A few moments later, a brown fluff of fur came bounding through an open back door, prompting instant smiles on all the faces sitting nearby.

Her name’s Kadence, and she’s an 11-month-old chocolate Labradoodle.

But she’s no ordinary dog, Parry is quick to point out.

Purchased through a grant from the state of Indiana, Kadence — KD for short — is the new therapy dog for Howard County’s problem solving courts like Veterans Court and Mental Health Court.

She also helps the probation department and juvenile programs too.

Riverside County (California) probation officer dies after getting coronavirus

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The Press-Enterprise on 11/16/2020 by Quinn Wilson and Brian Rokos

A 34-year-old Riverside County probation officer died from complications from COVID-19 on Saturday, Nov. 14, the department said.

Deputy Probation Officer Julio Beltran, a seven-year veteran of the department, is survived by his wife, a son and his parents, the department said.

“We are devastated and heartbroken,” Riverside County Chief Probation Officer Ron Miller II said.  “We ask that you join us in remembering his commitment and contribution to his community, and to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”