State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) introduced three bills this session to reform Indiana’s criminal justice system. Two of these bills are meant to ensure that lower income Hoosiers are treated equally before the law. Senate Bill (SB) 303 will end cash bail requirements for people accused of small misdemeanor crimes. SB 302 establishes guidelines recommended by the Senate Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code for determining when a defendant is indigent, and therefore entitled to a public defender.

“Requiring bail for small crimes effectively allows discrimination against poor Hoosiers in our state law,” Sen. Tallian said. “This is Indiana’s opportunity to help low-income Hoosiers better navigate the criminal justice system without the threat of debilitating fines.”

Sen. Tallian also introduced SB 301, which sets a seven year window for lookback periods, which is the practice of increasing one’s sentence for repeated offenses of a similar nature.

“By setting a reasonable limit on lookbacks, we can make sure defendants are not treated differently because of something they may have done as a teenager or even decades ago,” Sen. Tallian said.

All three bills, SB 301, SB 302 and SB 303 were assigned to the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law, on which Sen. Tallian serves as Ranking Minority Member. SB 302 was heard by the committee on Tuesday and is currently awaiting possible amendments and a committee vote