Citations Affected: IC 11-8; IC 11-11-1.5 ; IC 34-30-2-39.3 ; IC 34-30-2-39.5
Synopsis: Department of correction ombudsman. Provides that the
board of correction shall determine salaries and other personnel matters
of the department of correction ombudsman bureau (bureau).
Establishes the bureau for offenders who allege that their health or
safety has been endangered or that the department of correction has
violated a law, rule, or written policy. Provides that the ombudsman
and a person who provides records to the ombudsman are immune from
civil liability. Makes certain actions that impede the ombudsman's
investigation a Class B misdemeanor. Appropriates $200,000 to the
bureau for both the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 state fiscal years.
Effective: July 1, 2001.
January 18, 2001, read first time and referred to Committee on Corrections, Criminal and
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning
corrections and to make an appropriation.
IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS
[EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001]: Sec. 3. (a) The board shall:
(1) adopt rules for the conduct of its own business;
(2) approve or disapprove, before adoption, any rule to be adopted by the department under IC 4-22-2 ;
(3) approve or disapprove, before implementation, any resolution or directive of the department relating to departmental organization or policy;
(4) determine salaries and other personnel matters of the department of correction ombudsman bureau under IC 11-11-1.5 ; and
(5) keep records of all its official actions and make them accessible according to law.
(b) The board may:
(1) appoint temporary advisory committees for any purpose;
(2) visit and inspect, without notice, any facility or program of the department, either individually or collectively, to examine the
affairs and condition of the department; and
(3) exercise any other power reasonably necessary in discharging its duties and powers.
(c) The board has no direct administrative or executive powers other than those granted by this section.
(d) For purposes of IC 4-22-2 , the term "rule" as used in subsection (a)(1) relates solely to internal policy, organization, and procedure not having the force of law.
SECTION 2. IC 11-8-5-2 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001]: Sec. 2. (a) The department may, under IC 4-22-2 , classify as confidential the following personal information maintained on a person who has been committed to the department or who has received correctional services from the department:
(1) Medical, psychiatric, or psychological data or opinion which might adversely affect that person's emotional well-being.
(2) Information relating to a pending investigation of alleged criminal activity or other misconduct.
(3) Information which, if disclosed, might result in physical harm to that person or other persons.
(4) Sources of information obtained only upon a promise of confidentiality.
(5) Information required by law or promulgated rule to be maintained as confidential.
(b) The department may deny the person about whom the information pertains and other persons access to information classified as confidential under subsection (a). However, confidential information shall be disclosed:
(1) upon the order of a court;
(2) to employees of the department who need the information in the performance of their lawful duties;
(3) to other agencies in accord with IC 4-1-6-2 (m) and IC 4-1-6-8.5 ;
(4) to the governor or
his the governor's designee;
(5) for research purposes in accord with IC 4-1-6-8.6 (b);
(6) to the department of correction ombudsman bureau in accord with IC 11-11-1.5 ; or
(7) if the commissioner determines there exists a compelling public interest as defined in IC 4-1-6-1 , for disclosure which overrides the interest to be served by nondisclosure.
(c) The department shall disclose information classified as confidential under subsection (a)(1) to a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist designated in writing by the person about whom the
SECTION 3. IC 11-11-1.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001]:
Chapter 1.5. Department of Correction Ombudsman Bureau
Sec. 1. This chapter applies only to an offender who:
(1) is placed under the custody or made a ward of the department; and
(2) has submitted a grievance under IC 11-11-1-2 not less than twenty-one (21) days before filing a complaint under this chapter.
Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "bureau" refers to the department of correction ombudsman bureau established by section 4 of this chapter. The term includes individuals approved to act in the capacity of ombudsmen by the department of correction ombudsman bureau.
Sec. 3. As used in this chapter, "ombudsman" means an employee of the bureau or an individual approved by the bureau to investigate and resolve complaints regarding the health and safety of offenders, and violations by the department of specific laws, rules, or written policies.
Sec. 4. The department of correction ombudsman bureau is established as a separate bureau within the department.
Sec. 5. (a) The governor shall appoint a director of the bureau. The governor shall appoint a successor director within thirty (30) days of a vacancy in the position of the director. The director serves at the pleasure of the governor.
(b) The director may employ technical experts and other employees to carry out the purposes of this chapter. However, the director may not hire an individual to serve as an ombudsman who has been employed by the department during the preceding year.
Sec. 6. (a) The ombudsman shall receive, investigate, and attempt to resolve complaints that are made by a committed offender that allege that the department:
(1) violated a specific law, rule, or department written policy; or
(2) endangered the health or safety of the offender.
(b) At the conclusion of an investigation of a complaint, the ombudsman shall report the ombudsman's findings to the complainant.
(c) If the ombudsman does not investigate a complaint, the ombudsman shall notify the complainant of the decision not to
investigate and the reasons for the decision.
Sec. 7. (a) An ombudsman shall be given:
(1) appropriate access to the records of an offender who files a complaint under this chapter; and
(2) immediate access to any correctional facility administered or supervised by the department.
(b) A state or local government agency or entity that has records that are relevant to a complaint or an investigation conducted by the ombudsman shall provide the ombudsman with access to the records.
(c) A person is immune from:
(1) civil or criminal liability; and
(2) actions taken under a professional disciplinary procedure;
for the release or disclosure of records to the ombudsman under this chapter.
Sec. 8. (a) The ombudsman shall do the following:
(1) Establish procedures to receive and investigate complaints filed by an offender.
(2) Establish access controls for all information maintained by the bureau.
(3) Except as is necessary to investigate and resolve a complaint, ensure that the identity of a complainant will not be disclosed without:
(A) the complainant's written consent; or
(B) a court order.
(b) The correspondence and communication between the ombudsman and an offender who has filed a complaint is a privileged communication.
Sec. 9. The bureau may adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 necessary to carry out this chapter.
Sec. 10. The ombudsman is not civilly liable for the good faith performance of official duties.
Sec. 11. (a) The director of the bureau shall prepare a report each year on the operations of the bureau.
(b) A copy of the report shall be provided to the following:
(1) The governor.
(2) The legislative council.
(3) The department.
Sec. 12. A person who:
(1) intentionally prevents the work of the ombudsman;
(2) knowingly offers compensation to the ombudsman in an effort to affect the outcome of an investigation or a potential
(3) knowingly or intentionally retaliates against an offender or another person who provides information to the ombudsman; or
(4) makes threats because of an investigation or potential investigation against the ombudsman, an offender who has filed a complaint, or another person who provides information to ombudsman;
commits a Class A misdemeanor.
Sec. 13. The department shall provide and maintain office space for the bureau.
SECTION 4. IC 34-30-2-39.3 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001]: Sec. 39.3. IC 11-11-1.5-7 (Concerning a person who releases information to the department of correction ombudsman).
SECTION 5. IC 34-30-2-39.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001]: Sec. 39.5. IC 11-11-1.5-10 (Concerning the department of correction ombudsman).
SECTION 6. [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001] (a) There is appropriated to the department of correction ombudsman bureau established by IC 11-11-1.5-4 , as added by this act, from the state general fund:
(1) two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the period beginning July 1, 2001, and ending June 30, 2002; and
(2) two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the period beginning July 1, 2002, and ending June 30, 2003.
(b) This SECTION expires July 1, 2003.