Hoosier lawmakers debating “compassionate” bill that would allow some inmates early release

The case for a bill that would let some Indiana prisoners out before the end of their sentences as they near the end of their lives, House Bill 1648, dubbed the “compassionate release” bill, is being discussed by lawmakers.

The bill was authored by Rep. Bob Morris (R-84). It was referred in March to the Senate Committee for Corrections and Criminal Law.

A local supporter of the bill and former State Senator Jim Merritt says some inmates who are low-risk but expensive to incarcerate due to their medical conditions should be released.

“There are about 2,500 people who are incarcerated now that have some sort of disease, some sort of terminal illness. This bill also qualifies for over 65 nonviolent and you have to go before a judge. If this would become law, you have to go before a judge and put your issue before that individual. With the cost of medical care inside prison, inside the Department of Correction rising, that is not Medicaid. If this individual that would be released, that is either dying with a terminal illness or is aged, they would immediately go on Medicaid outside the prison and be off the citizens of Indiana ticket.”

Victims’ families or surviving victims may say the bill does not show compassion for them, which Merritt addressed Thursday on Daybreak.

“There would be a lot of stipulations involved. I would say to that individual, that those families, first of all, sorry for your loss — second, this person has paid their debt to society in large part. Third, they won’t hurt anyone again because they can’t. They’re not able to, physically, and a judge can make that decision,” Merrit said.

According to Merritt, to be considered the person will have to be before the judge and would need to be determined as nonviolent, and they would have to serve plenty of their sentences.

If granted permission, the prisoner would live out their days at home. If the person does something they should not be doing, they could be sent back to prison.

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Slacker06 April 9, 2023 at 11:46 am

Do you people read the news?

Every day there another story or two that reports on some violent criminal given early or compassionate release, or perhaps no time behind bars at all, getting loose and almost immediately re-offending. Most of the time these criminals have very long records of violent behavior including illegal gun possession. It seems all the gun laws are incapable or worthless in stopping these heinous criminals. This morning a story out of Dc about a guy just out of custody stalking and stabbing to death a visitor to the District who was there to attend an event. EVERY DAY PEOPLE! Swift ans sure punishment as our Constitution requires is the only way to deter these crimes. A hundred years ago NY was tough on crime. Petty criminals would rob liquor stores with unloaded guns so there was no chance they would commit murder during the robbery. They would take a stretch in stir rather than meet face to face with OLD SPARKY. Today, CRIMINALS are not scared of the unjust-us system by any stretch of the imagination. They laugh and mock our officers a, judges, and prosecutors.

Charles U Farley April 10, 2023 at 8:31 am

The only people in jeopardy from our modern legal system are law abiding citizens. Criminals get a free pass. Check out the case of Daniel Perry in Texas.

Cm April 9, 2023 at 4:57 pm

Sure … Indiana doesn’t give a tinkers fig about anything except locking up as many people as they can. Putting people in prison for pot STILL in 2023. It’s all about cash. Only people whom need locked up are violent and sexual predators. Not for non violent dumb crap so you can get reelected. Wake up Indiana

Thor April 12, 2023 at 4:57 pm

Meh. Those folks locked up for pot are done so with pot only being an additional charge (usually a misdemeanor) to what is generally a long list of other offenses they earned. Wake up dopers, stop being criminals (and no it’s not just the pot it’s a lifestyle).


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