Make your home page

Mayoral candidates weigh in on ‘revolving door’ criminal justice system

Roundup from Indianapolis Mayoral Debate on WISH-TV, from News 8 at 5 p.m. Oct. 24, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Does Marion County have a ‘revolving door’ criminal justice system?

That’s one of the big questions News 8 set out to answer Monday night during the mayoral debate exclusively on WISH-TV.

Our question to both mayoral candidates about the revolving door justice system comes from the recent criticism by Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, who called the justice system in Marion County broken.

Earlier this month, during a news conference, Carter called for reevaluating the bond matrix for violent criminals. The goal is to increase bonds.

“It should be a preventative measure to do all the system can to ensure another crime is not committed when that person’s out on bail. This step could theoretically slow the circular system of justice that we’re experiencing today and maybe even could be a deterrent from a crime being committed in the first place. Bad guys and gals aren’t afraid of the system,” he said.

Fast forward to Monday night’s debate on WISH-TV between Mayor Joe Hogsett and Jefferson Shreve:
“Is that a fair criticism? What changes, if any, do you want to see made in the Marion County judicial system?” asked WISH-TV moderator Katiera Winfrey.

“The criticism is very fair, and I have thoroughly agreed with Superintendent Carter in his call for a complete review of the criminal justice ecosystem, if you will, in Marion County. While the mayor directly controls the funding, staffing, and budget for the IMPD, he’s got to work with an independently elected prosecutor, members of the judiciary and the sheriff’s department, and the system,” Shreve said. “The ecosystem is not working as Superintendent Carter has pointed out. If elected mayor, I will use this office. I will use my voice, the bully pulpit, to advocate for a working criminal justice system that will close that revolving door. To take the violent serial offenders off of the streets of Indianapolis.”

In his response, Hogsett broke down what his office has been doing to combat violent crime.

“I think we do need added enforcement. … Part of my criminal justice plan has been to add three additional special assistant U.S. attorneys to the U.S. Attorney’s Office working with the U.S. attorney in pursuit of violent crime, particularly gun violence here in Marion County. Because the federal prosecutor has so many more tools at his or her availability, I think that will make a profound difference in the criminal justice system here in Marion County,” Hogsett said.

Right now, I-Team 8 is working to gather statistics from the Marion County Superior Court to see just how many people commit crimes while out on bond. When we get those numbers, we’ll break them down for you to see if the criticisms of the judicial system are accurate.