The Indiana legislature is considering legislation that could increase the amount of time people accused of specific crimes spend in jail. If passed, the proposed legislation will increase the current eight-hour hold to a 24-hour hold when a person is facing criminal charges for crimes involving household members.
How might this legislation impact Indiana residents?
Reasons for the proposed legislation
Advocates for Senate Bill 158 say that increasing the holding time for people facing domestic violence charges allows for a cooling-off period that may prevent future violence. Indiana currently has some of the least restrictive bail time requirements for domestic violence in the United States.
The change would bring Indiana more in line with the 28 states that have cooldown periods of more than 24 hours. Advocates argue that the current eight-hour hold time is not long enough for law enforcement and courts to determine if a person poses a safety threat to children and other family members. In addition to the increased hold time, legislators are considering amending the Indiana Constitution to permit judges to deny bail if they believe releasing a suspect endangers the public.
Arguments against the proposed legislation
Opponents of the proposed legislation say that cooldown periods are ineffective at preventing violence and only result in detaining people for longer periods without a criminal conviction. Additionally, they believe it gives judges too much power to imprison people before they receive a trial.
If the legislation passes, defendants facing domestic violence charges could face up to six months in jail without a trial if a judge denies bail in their case.