Indiana SO treatment class ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that Indiana’s sex offender class violates the constitutional rights of inmates who did not admit guilt, as reported in the Indianapolis Star.

The plaintiffs, all convicted of sex crimes, argued that since they pleaded not guilty to the crimes they were convicted of, they should not be forced to attend the SOMM program.  

The program, instituted by the Indiana Department of Correction in 1999, forces participants to confess guilt in the crimes for which they are charged, give written consent to disclosure of confession and submit to a polygraph test. 

Specifically, the program requires participants to disclose the details of the crimes for which they were convicted and confess to any past acts of sexual violence.  

Jeff Cardella, a criminal law professor at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, says the requirement to confess other crimes for which they were not adjudicated or convicted is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment. 

Indiana plans to appeal the ruling.

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