A Look at Indiana's Purposeful Incarceration Program
Purposeful Incarceration an Alternative to Traditional Incarceration
The whole idea behind prison, accurately called the Department of Corrections, is to get offenders to a point where they will not re-offend. It has been a challenge for prisons all over the nation. Too many times an offender enters the prison only to be released and then return some months later.
In 2009, Indiana started a new program called Purposeful Incarceration. The idea was designed to target inmates whose criminal behavior is tied to a substance abuse and addiction. The program has not gained much traction or use so far, but there is a significant push to start placing offenders in this program when they have a substance abuse problem that is driving their criminal activity. In this blog the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower take a closer look at purposeful incarceration.
The whole idea behind the program is to create a part of the prison that is focused on intensive drug treatment. The Indiana DOC has established over 1700 beds for this program, however, at last report, less than 100 beds were being utilized. The minimum time it can take to successfully complete the program is 8 months. However, for some offenders the core program can last up to a year.
The initial phase in an intensive program using evidence based models to treat the offender and the program requires strict compliance with it rules and policies. Once an offender completes the first phase, the next goal is to begin working on successful re-entry into the community. During this time the offender may play the role of a mentor and a plan for follow up services will be put in place.
An inmate who successfully completes purposeful incarceration is then eligible for a 6 month sentence cut. During the stay, the sentencing court or an officer thereof, can be notified throughout of the inmate’s progress. Then, after they successfully complete the program, the Court may modify their sentence to allow them to start re-entry via either community corrections or probation. The whole goal is to address the core problem of the inmate with hopes that they will not return to the system.
The Department of Corrections will then follow and study this population group to see how successful the program appears to be in stemming the tide of repeat offenders. The initial information from the IDOC is that the program is positively impacting recidivism and it has 1/10th the number of conduct violations compared to that of the general population.
In conclusion, purposeful incarceration has a promising and well directed goal of avoiding an offender from entering the life of release and re-entry into the system. As this program matures, hopefully more judges and prosecutors will begin to see this as a viable option to doing just straight prison time. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime that has drug abuse at its core and you think purposeful incarceration may be the right answer, contact the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower to discuss your options. You can call us at 317-870-0019.