The pattern of county jail overcrowding in Indiana raises serious concerns regarding the need for larger mass incarceration policy reform. Overcrowding inherently leads to conditions that the Supreme Court has found unconstitutional. We must protect the rights and safety of individuals currently incarcerated, while also treating the cause of overcrowding — the policies that have led to mass incarceration. In 2018, an evaluation by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute found 77 percent of Indiana’s jails to be overcrowded or at capacity. There were an estimated 21,187 people in Indiana county jails in 2018, more than half of whom were awaiting trial and had not been convicted of a crime.
HB 1346 will establish a county jail overcrowding workgroup to further collect data that will allow sheriffs to collect, analyze, and exchange information concerning jail occupancy and issues related to jail occupancy.