The Indiana Pretrial Pilot Project, part of Indiana's Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM) initiative, began in 2016 in partnership with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC). The goals of the project were to provide Indiana policymakers information on the effect of pretrial risk assessment on release decisions and the effect of supervision and notification systems on defendants’ return to court and pretrial conduct.
Indiana’s pretrial system strives to achieve the "3 M’s" – maximizing public safety, maximizing court appearance, and maximizing pretrial release. Additionally, Indiana’s pretrial system follows these guiding principles:
- Fairness. A pretrial system that is fair is not based on ability to pay (bond and supervision fees), but instead is based on the assessment of objective factors relevant to public safety and court appearance
- Harm reduction. A pretrial system that reduces harm protects the public from those who pose a danger to the community while reducing the detention of those whose risk to public safety may actually be increased as a result of pretrial detention
- Informed. A pretrial system that is informed is guided by social science research along with comprehensive case-specific information
- Cost-effectiveness. A pretrial system that is cost-effective reserves expensive jail resources for those who pose a danger to public safety and utilizes non-detention-based interventions, including pretrial supervision, for those who can be safely managed in the community.
In December 2019 the Board of Directors of the Judicial Conference of Indiana adopted the Pretrial Services Rules (effective January 1, 2020), forming the basis for voluntary certification for Indiana counties implementing pretrial best practices.
Since the Supreme Court adopted Criminal Rule 26 in September 2016, the Indiana Office of Court Services has worked with 11 counties to implement Criminal Rule 26 and other evidence based pretrial practices. The pilot counties include Allen, Bartholomew, Grant, Hamilton, Hendricks, Jefferson, Monroe, Porter, St. Joseph, Starke, and Tipton.
Pretrial Work Group
Membership in the Pretrial Work Group fluctuates and includes stakeholders from all three branches of government and various organizations. The Work Group meets regularly to discuss and advance the project.