In 2011, the Indiana State Legislature's Criminal Code Evaluation Commission formed a committee, since called the Data Analysis Work Group (DAWG), led by Representative Ralph Foley and consisting of members from the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC), the Indiana State Legislature, and the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC). One goal of this group was to examine why certain low-level and nonviolent felony offenders spend very short periods of incarceration (often less than 365 days) in IDOC. In September 2011, representatives of the Indiana University Public Policy Institute's Center for Criminal Justice Research (CCJR) met with DAWG committee members to discuss the possibility of collecting data to understand the issues that lead to short periods of incarceration in IDOC for low-level and nonviolent felony offenders.
CCJR was contracted to conduct a study to better understand the processes that ultimately result in offenders sentenced to IDOC where the most serious conviction offense is a D felony or selected nonviolent C felonies. CCJR's goal for the study was to provide rich case-level data on all D felony cases and the eligible nonviolent C felonies that were admitted to the IDOC for a three-month period in 2011 to inform policy discussions surrounding efforts to change incarceration practices in the state of Indiana. This report summarizes findings of this study.