IN Focus: Hogsett, deputy mayor on jail overcrowding, re-entry programs

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - In his first State of the City address as Indianapolis' mayor, Joe Hogsett said he wants to reform the criminal justice system, provide Pre-K for all families, and install new street lights in the city for the first time in 30 years.

He announced the creation of a new Criminal Justice Reform Task Force to oversee the overhaul of the criminal justice system, with the city facing a jail overcrowding crisis.

"We cannot let this crisis pass with just another Band-Aid fix," he said. "We cannot pass this problem to another generation."

He said that some believe a new jail is the answer, but he thinks it shouldn't be the whole answer.

"And we need a new jail. Our current facilities are out of date, inefficient and unsafe. But while a new jail may be necessary, it is certainly not sufficient," said Hogsett.

He called for a more holistic, data-driven approach to treating inmates with mental illness or substance addiction. He called the criminal justice system "broken" and said adding more space for more people isn't the answer.

The task force will look at various options to address the issue, including but not limited to a new jail.

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Hogsett also lifted the moratorium on building new street lights. He said within the next 30 days, Indianapolis will begin the installation of 100 new street lights-- the first new set in more than 30 years.

Hogsett said he had a goal to find 1,000 jobs for Indianapolis teens, and announced he has exceeded that goal. He announced that he plans to seek funding to make Pre-K education available for all Indianapolis children.

“Tonight, I am announcing that during the next legislative session, one of our four fundamental priorities will be to seek funding from our state to make quality Pre-K education available to every child in Indianapolis that wants it.”

In the videos above, Hogsett discusses his plans following Wednesday's speech.

In the video below, deputy mayor David Hampton joins Lena Hackett from Community Solutions Inc. & the Marion County Reentry Coalition to discuss the city's efforts at keeping ex-cons from committing repeat offenses, through an effective and successful reentry program.

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