Indiana Wants to Make Compensating Wrongly-Convicted People Easier
In 2019, Indiana lawmakers created a pathway that allowed for people who were wrongfully incarcerated to receive financial restitution — $50,000 for each year they spent behind bars. The legislation, however, failed to stipulate what legal standard applicants must meet to demonstrate their proof of innocence.
HB 1283 would institute a low-bar "preponderance of evidence" standard. The hope is that it will help to reduce the amount of court time and stress an innocent person needs to undergo in order to receive compensation. The proposal also stipulated someone who was wrongfully imprisoned but later convicted for an unrelated crime would be ineligible for payment.
South Dakota Lawmakers Want to Make Hazing a Crime
Were SB 72 to pass both chambers and be signed into law, South Dakota would become the 45th state to classify hazing on college campuses and other locations as a criminal offense. The class of felony would depend upon a person's intentionality in committing acts of hazing and whether their actions lead to bodily harm.
Proponents argue this change would help to prevent instances of extreme mental stress, serious injury, and even death. Opponents, however, argue existing criminal code makes the proposal redundant, or point out that people willingly engage in activities considered hazing.
An Infamous Juvenile Detention Center in Wisconsin may Soon be Replaced
It has been four years since Wisconsin legislators first voted to close down a juvenile detention center which reported multiple complaints of guards displaying overtly aggressive behaviors toward offenders and other instances of neglect. An original deadline to close the facility by 2021 was extended and eventually missed.
However, lawmakers are now close to passing a proposal that would allocate money for a replacement facility. Meanwhile, there are other ongoing efforts to place troubled youth in facilities closer to their communities and loved ones.
Kansas Lawmakers are Seeking to Redesign the Civil Asset Forfeiture Process
A proposal in the Kansas legislature would restrict law enforcement from confiscating a person's assets they believe to be connected to criminal activity until after the person has been found guilty. Another proposal would bar seizures of items and vehicles worth less than $200 and $2000, respectively.
Proponents of the measure raised examples of assets being confiscated by law enforcement before a suspect has been charged, or never being returned even after acquittal. Various law enforcement groups, however, claimed a large portion of civil asset forfeitures in Kansas are associated with drug trades and cash meant for drug mules transporting controlled substances into the state. Other opponents have argued said forfeitures go to fund official law enforcement operations.