Q: What did the ACLU of Indiana ask the Supreme Court to do?

A: We filed a petition with the Indiana Supreme Court asking the Court, in its role as director of Indiana’s judicial system, to order criminal courts to take steps to consider releasing prisoners who can safely and properly be released to try to lessen the risk of COVID-19 for prisoners, staff, and the general public with whom staff interact. The Supreme Court denied our petition.

Q: When does the ACLU of Indiana expect the court to act?

A: The Supreme Court denied the petition.

Q: Can the ACLU of Indiana help individuals with good conduct petition for release from jail or prison?

A: No. We will not be able to represent individual persons seeking release. This would require seeking relief from a criminal court and our office does not handle criminal cases. You should contact an attorney practicing criminal law to see if something can be done for you loved one.

Q: What can be done for someone who is incarcerated and has underlying conditions like asthma and diabetes?

A: The person who is incarcerated should immediately notify the authorities in the jail or prison of this fact and determine if there are special procedures in place to provide greater protection to individuals with these underlying conditions. If the person who is incarcerated believes that there are other actions that the jail or prison should take they may contact us with their concerns. We may be able to contact attorneys for the DOC or jail to try to assist if the prisoner wishes us to do so.

Q: What can I do if a family member is in jail or prison and is telling me about unsafe practices and conditions?

A: You should have the person who is incarcerated contact our office.

Q: What kinds of issues or conditions inside jails and prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic should I alert the ACLU of Indiana about?

A: Ultimately, jails and prisons are responsible for protecting the health of prisoners. These are difficult times and despite the best efforts of jails and prisons you may believe that the facility is not doing its best to protect the health of people who are incarcerated. You are welcome to contact us in such a situation, although it is always better if we can hear directly from the prisoner.