In 2014, Indiana enacted a set of sensible reforms to its criminal code, including reducing the sentencing range for nonviolent crimes such as theft and possession or distribution of certain controlled substances. However, these reforms were limited to individuals who had committed a covered offense after the effective date on July 1, 2014. Because of this, over one thousand individuals who were convicted before July 1, 2014 remain behind bars serving drastically harsher sentences than they would receive for the same offenses today.
On April 6, 2021, NACDL President Christopher W. Adams submitted a written statement to the Indiana state Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee in support of HB 1202, a bill addressing the unequal justice created by 2014 sentencing reforms. This bill would have extended early release eligibility to those convicted of certain nonviolent offenses before July 1, 2014, representing a critical opportunity to provide second chances to individuals who pose no threat to public safety. The bill failed to advance.