Indianapolis Star Editorial

No More Excuses: Fix Justice System

July 14, 2006
Our position: City leaders must attack early release of inmates and other public safety threats with a fresh sense of urgency.

Our community must do better than this.

In May, a man with a long history of criminal convictions was accused of murdering seven family members on the Near Eastside. He recently had been released early from the Marion County Jail because of overcrowding.

It was an especially horrific crime, but was not exactly isolated. At least four other murders have occurred in recent years after the killers were freed early from the jail.

Police and prosecutors complain that the early release of more than 10,000 inmates in the past five years has undermined any threat they hold over thugs and thieves.

Now, a convicted child molester, William Temple, stands accused of sexually abusing two children, including a 4-year-old, after his early release from the jail on July 1.

Our elected leaders must finally fix the problems that lead to jail overcrowding and the early release of inmates.

No more studies. No more excuses.

Crime is on the rise. People are dying. Children are being harmed. All because this city's leaders have failed to stop the constant flow of dangerous inmates out of the jail.

It may take a new jail to solve the problem. It may take a new courthouse. It may even take another tax increase. But the political will must finally emerge to do whatever it takes to restore public safety in a city that's seen sharp increases in homicides and burglaries this year.

Indianapolis has demonstrated a remarkable ability over the years to confront and solve problems. Downtown has been revived. An outdated economy is being transformed. A Rust Belt city is in many ways more attractive than ever. Problems with crime, however, are a genuine threat to the city's quality of life, and its ability to retain families and attract skilled workers.

A sense of urgency in confronting the early release of inmates and other threats to public safety is vital.