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Solving Our Local Public Safety Crisis: Recent Lessons From Atlanta, Chicago, and Indianapolis Criminal Justice Planning Council - March 2005. The Campaign For A Safe And Adequate Justice Center Indianapolis Bar Association/Marion County Bar Association Justice Center Task Force

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Solving Our Local Public Safety Crisis: Recent Lessons From Atlanta, Chicago, and IndianapolisCriminal Justice Planning Council - March 2005

The Campaign For A Safe And Adequate Justice Center

Indianapolis Bar Association/Marion County Bar Association

Justice Center Task Force

John Kautzman & John Maley


Today s goals
Today’s Goals

  • Discuss The History and Nature of the Current Public Safety Crisis Within Marion County’s Justice System

  • Suggest Short-Term and Long-Term Solutions

  • Propose Immediate Action Steps to Move Forward Without Delay


Our perspective
Our Perspective

  • We represent nearly 5,000 local legal professionals, including attorneys, paralegals, prosecutors, defenders, and judiciary

  • IBA & MCBA are non-partisan, & have longstanding commitment to promoting safety in local courts

  • IBA Security Task Force created in 1998

  • IBA & IBF implemented pilot security program in 2001

  • Launched Justice Center Task Force in 2002

  • IBF/IBA have committed thousands of hours and nearly $100,000 in funds to court safety


The current crisis
The Current Crisis

  • Two Primary Risks

  • 1. Release Of Violent Criminals Due In Part to Insufficient # of Courts

  • 2. Violent Criminals, Litigants, & Participants In Volatile Courts In Dangerous Times


Problem history of and potential for violence in court

Annually almost 70,000 prisoners are transported within Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

Because of the 1950s design of the building, these prisoners are transported in the midst of the public

Within the building nearly 500 arrests are made annually, often more than 40 a month.

Nearly 700 alarms or emergencies are reported in the building annually, an average of 2x daily

The building is one of the most dangerous places in our otherwise proud city

Problem: History of and Potential for Violence in Court


Lessons from atlanta chicago
Lessons from Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily. Atlanta & Chicago

  • Courts are dangerous places

  • The stakes are high for litigants

  • Many litigants are unstable

  • Federal judges receive 700 threats annually – 1 per judge

  • There have been countless incidents nationwide

  • Including here in Indiana (e.g., Howard County Courthouse bombing) & Indianapolis (escapes, assaults, etc)


This impacts more than 500 000 residents
This Impacts Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily. More Than 500,000 Residents

  • There are approximately 2,500 total employees who work in the City‑County building (410 in the courts)

  • The Building Authority did a study recently to track the number of non‑employees entering the building at peak time (around 9 and 1).

  • Over 1,300 entered the building at the 9am peak hour, while over 1,200 entered the building in the hour surrounding the 1:00 peak hour. This excludes the 2,500 employees.

  • Over half a million people come and go in the building annually, for marriage licenses, tax payments, government business, jury service, court matters, etc.


Further analysis systemic inefficiencies waste
Further Analysis – Systemic Inefficiencies & Waste Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • Inefficiencies In Overall Process – From Processing, Detention, Adjudication, & Jailing

  • Years of Band-Aid, Patchwork Fixes Have Left an Expensive, Inefficient, Wasteful System


Resultant early release problem
Resultant Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily. Early Release Problem

  • Inadequate Space, Judges, & Resources, Coupled With Jail Cap, Means Release Of Dangerous Felons

  • 5 Murders We Know Of So Far From Early Releases

  • How Many Rapes, Batteries, Burglaries?

  • As the Mayor said in his State of the City, “No local elected official can be missing in action! No more excuses! It's time to end the crisis of early release of criminals!”


Proposed short term solutions
Proposed Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily. Short-Term Solutions

  • Immediate Assessment of Transport Procedures, Including Weapons

  • Immediate Assessment of Risk Classification

  • Immediate Assessment of Civil Court Security

  • Immediate Assessment of Security Staffing Levels


Long term solutions have been studied extensively
Long-Term Solutions Have Been Studied Extensively Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • 1977 Space Acquired for Separate Building

  • 1991 Marion County Governmental Space Study

  • 1997 Indiana Supreme Court Caseload Study

  • 1998 CourtWorks Space Study

  • 1999 Court Needs Assessment

  • 2002 Justice Center Task Force

  • 2004 Crim. Justice Planning Strategic Plan


All taxpayer funded studies over 15 years agree on the only feasible long term solution
All Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily. Taxpayer-Funded Studies Over 15 Years Agree On The Only Feasible Long-Term Solution

  • City-County Council passed Special Resolution 55 on Sep. 10, 1990, calling for a formal study of space needs

  • December 1991 the Indianapolis Marion County Governmental Space Study was issued

  • This comprehensive report found serious safety concerns with the court facilities


Highlights of the 1991 report
Highlights Of The 1991 Report Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • “The judicial system has expanded into space never intended nor designed to have courtrooms.”

  • “Courts pose significant security risks, and have unique space requirements not met by general office space.”


More from the 1991 report
More From The 1991 Report Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • "Security and the issue of separation of incompatible functions is a concern of all occupants of the City‑County Building, particularly with regard to the courts. The threat of violence is most evidence in the Civil and Domestic Courts, where personal emotions run the highest and are the most volatile. Witness protection, by means of separation, does not exist currently.”

  • “Prisoner transfer to and from hearings occurs through public corridors.”


1991 report recommendations
1991 Report Recommendations Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

"A new judicial center most successfully addresses the need for separation, security, and adjacency relationships of the most critical functions of the entire courts system and City‑County government.”

  • "The City‑County Building does not provide a sufficient number of adequate courtrooms to fulfill the obligations that the state has imposed on creating new courts."


What else in the 90s
What Else In The 90s Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • In 1997 the Indiana Supreme Court’s weighted caseload study determined that, based on caseloads in Marion County, we needed nearly 30 more judicial officers (this has not yet occurred)

  • 1998 the Marion County Courts retained the Court Works firm from Virginia to analyze space needs

  • 1998 Facility Utilization Plan recommended construction of a new judicial facility


What did the 1998 study say
What Did The 1998 Study Say Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • “The present facilities offer no separation between staff, prisoner, and public circulation, as required by currently accepted court guidelines.”

  • “Some criminal courts do not have adjacent holding cells and prisoners must be chained together in the courtroom.”

  • “There are not enough courtrooms and hearing rooms.”


1998 recommendations
1998 Recommendations Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • "The best solution, one which solves all of the courts' space, security, and operational needs as well as relieves much of the visitor traffic to the City‑County Building, is the construction of a new court facility. Nearly all of the existing courts experience severe and dysfunctional space shortages, a general lack of security, inadequate prisoner circulation, a lack of well designed prisoner holding, and poor staff circulation. The result is a serious safety concern for not only those who work in the courts but for everyone visiting the courts and City‑County Building."


The 1999 marion county courts needs assessment
The 1999 Marion County Courts Needs Assessment Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • Study noted that courts then used 295,000 square feet, but needed 465,000 square feet, and would need more than 500,000 square feet by 2010

  • The Report recommended construction of a new facility. "[This] provides the best solution for long‑term growth and continued operation of the courts, provides the greatest safety and security for all occupants of the building, and assures handicapped accessibility to all areas of the building."


2004 strategic plan
2004 Strategic Plan Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • Recognizes This Longstanding Problem

  • Similarly Recommends A New, Separate Justice Center


2004 criminal justice summit
2004 Criminal Justice Summit Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • At Mayor’s Criminal Justice Summit, leaders agreed public safety is our community’s # 1 priority


What are the standards for safe adequate court facilities
What Are The Standards For Safe & Adequate Court Facilities? Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • No reasonable person disputes that Marion County must have safe court facilities

  • But we do not have safe and adequate courts today, and have not for far too long

  • Indiana’s Courthouse Security Minimum Standards dictate that interior circulation system of the public, employees, and prisoners should be separate

  • This is impossible in the City-County Building


State law requires the city county council to act
State Law Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily. Requires the City- County Council To Act

  • I.C. 33-33-49-17(b): The city-council shall provide and maintain in the building and at other places as the [Marion Superior] court may determine suitable and convenient courtrooms for the holding of the court, suitable and convenient jury rooms, and offices for the judges other court officers and personnel, and other facilities as may be necessary.

  • Yet suitable space has not existed since at least 1991, to the risk of the public and court staff


Examples of recent low rise facilities
Examples Of Recent Low-Rise Facilities Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.


It s time to finally plan for the future
It’s Time To Finally Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily. Plan For the Future

  • Plan a unified safe and adequate justice center encompassing processing, detention, adjudication, and possibly jailing

  • Downtown is an option, but not the only option – why put criminal justice on the most expensive downtown land forcing high-rise, expensive building while deterring Market Square development?

  • Many options exist – Eastgate, Lafayette Square area, Sherman Park in Center Township, etc. – we don’t advocate any particular option; let them compete while local government studies the best options

  • But let’s move the dangerous work of the courts out of the office building, and move government agencies back into the government office tower


How to finance this necessary investment in public safety
How To Finance This Necessary Investment In Public Safety Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • Professional facilities planners estimate that a safe and adequate facility would likely range in the $95 million - $195 million range.

  • Funding could come from:

    • rental savings from agencies relocating to the City-County Building (estimated > $2million annually);

    • cost savings in personnel – plus more officers on the street rather than on chain gangs

    • adjustments to court fees (> $2million annually)

    • increased property tax revenues from downtown development

    • a modest property tax enhancement that would add $10 annually on a $75,000 market value home


Recommended action steps
Recommended Action Steps Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

  • 1. Immediate Assessment Of Security

  • 2. Additional Staffing As Warranted

  • 3. Declare Unequivocally That, Long-Term, The Criminal Courts Ultimately Should Not Be In This Government Office Tower

  • 4. Begin Planning The Location, Composition, & Financing Of A Safe & Adequate Criminal Justice Center


For more information

For More Information Marion County courts, for an average of over 5,700 monthly, or almost 300 daily.

www.indyjusticecenter.org


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