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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Indiana’s policy and purpose clause has a child and family focus, and was last amended in 1998.  It includes due process language and phrases from the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997). It aligns with BARJ as it mentions enforcement of accountability of children and parents, described in terms of obligations and responsibilities. Other elements include use of sanctions and a continuum of services in cooperative effort by local and state government.

IN ST §31-10-2-1

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer.

In Indiana, The JPO may place the child in detention if the intake officer reasonably believes that the child is a delinquent child, and a detention hearing must occur within 48 hours.

Otherwise, a person can submit a delinquency-related complaint to either a designated court intake officer (JPO) or the prosecutor’s (DA) office. When information is given initially to the JPO, the JPO notifies the DA and completes a screening instrument to determine whether the child may also be dependent. The DA makes the decision whether the JPO should conduct a preliminary inquiry. If so instructed, the JPO will make a recommendation to dismiss/refer the child to another agency, proceed with informal adjustment, file a petition, and/or refer the child for a (full) dual status assessment. The DA and the court may agree to alter this procedure. When the JPO plans to recommend an informal adjustment that involves services or placement from The Department of Child Services (DCS); unless the situation is emergent, the plan must be submitted to DCS who has 3 days to respond before the JPO submits the recommendation to the court for approval. After preliminary inquiry and approval of the court, the JPO may implement informal adjustment. Statute gives the right to propose alternative service and appeal rights to the department. The child and the child’s parent/s or attorney must consent to the program of informal adjustment, which can last up to 6 months, and with the court’s approval extended an additional 3 months.

The DA may file the petition alleging delinquency and the court will approve filing the petition if there is probable cause. The matter must be adjudicated or dismissed within one year.

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

In Indiana, informal adjustments can last 6 months, and can be extended by the judge for 3 more months. The matter must be adjudicated or dismissed within one year.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by legislature

Indiana statute IC §31-30.5 prohibits restraints in juvenile court unless the court has determined on the record, after considering sheriff/transport officer recommendations that the juvenile is (potentially) dangerous. Recommendations need not be considered when youth causes a physical disruption in court.

Competency, 2015

In Indiana, there is no statutory language specific to juvenile competency. A state Supreme Court case held that a finding of incompetency to stand trial is not an abuse of discretion when applied to juveniles for delinquency-related proceedings, which affirms the practice, but does not require it.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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