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Criminal court progress boosts Marion County home detention costs

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The success of accelerated case management by Marion superior judges has simultaneously served to ease pressure on the overcrowded Marion County Jail while placing more offenders on home detention.

That exploding client list forced the Marion Community Corrections Agency to seek approval to spend another $1.7 million to put GPS monitoring units on the ankles of home detention offenders.

“The superior courts have moved cases at a rate of 73% faster than they were previously which is a phenomenal number,” Director John Deiter told the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee of the City-County Council. “They’re moving them in hopes of helping jail overcrowding. A lot of people, though, come to us and we appreciate what we can do for public safety. It’s just that we now have at least 3500 people out in the street with electronic monitoring of some sort, more people than are sitting in the jails.”

The capacity of Marion County’s jail system locally is 2,507.

Community Corrections sought and received committee approval to tap state and federal grants and local funds to boost the spending on monitoring services and equipment and expanded staffing and operating costs.

Offenders pay an average of $10 per day for the units attached to their ankles.

Track Group Solutions Indiana, the private firm contracted with the county to provide monitoring services, is paid approximately $3.15 per day per offender occurring to Director Brian Barton.

Deiter said in 2014, each one of his case managers was handling 125 clients.

That caseload has been reduced to 69 clients per manager.

Mayor Joe Hogsett has set a December deadline to unveil a plan to not only revamp Marion County’s criminal justice system, but also build a new jail and sheriff’s office.