INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers want to triple the minimum amount of time people arrested for domestic violence are kept in jail.
Currently, people arrested for domestic violence in Indiana are often allowed to post bail after spending eight hours in jail. Senate Bill 158 would triple that mandatory holding period to 24 hours.
Advocates say the proposal would benefit law enforcement officers and domestic violence survivors.
“Just processing that trauma takes time,” said Laura Berry, executive director of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Holding perpetrators in jail for eight hours isn’t enough time for survivors to get help, Berry said.
“Oftentimes, a lot of these incidents happen in the evening and overnight when arrest is happening,” Berry explained. “And so access to some of those programs and support systems aren’t open for them.”
Last year, nearly 20% of homicides in Indiana were linked to domestic violence, Berry said.
Reports of domestic violence have been on the rise since 2020, she added.
“We’re not doing well in this category,” State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) told a House committee Wednesday.
Crider’s bill would require anyone arrested for domestic violence to be jailed for 24 hours before they can post bail.
“We’re doing what we can to try to be responsible with our state policy and provide a strong layer of protection, as strong as we can for those individuals that find themselves impacted,” Crider said.
According to the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, 28 other states already have mandatory holding periods of at least 24 hours following domestic violence arrests.
The bill passed in the Senate with almost unanimous support on a 47-2 vote.
Still, the Indiana Public Defender Council has concerns.
“24 hours in jail can really derail a person’s life,” said Zach Stock, the organization’s legislative counsel.
Stock argues the holding period should be determined a on case-by-case basis rather than the charges themselves.
“Crimes like invasion of privacy, criminal recklessness, burglary, residential entry, they very much can be the hallmarks of a domestic violence situation, but they aren’t necessarily so,” Stock said.
The bill also includes a provision that adds more criminal charges that would make someone prohibited from having a gun. Those include attempted murder, strangulation and human trafficking under the proposal.
The bill now heads to the House floor after receiving unanimous support from a House committee.