This Indiana study examined the impact of increased enforcement efforts against methamphetamine violations on the jails, prosecutors offices, courts, and correctional resources in 10 counties in the southwestern region of the State.
The study examined the Indiana Judicial Services Reports for 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. It analyzed data submitted by courts of record and obtained indicators of new case filings, case dispositions, and the accumulation of pending cases. Data were limited for the purposes of this study, however, because offenses were not designated. The study focused on frequencies and percentage changes, making adjustments to equalize rates of filing and disposition for population changes. The assumption in the analysis is that if methamphetamine-related cases are increasing under enforcement efforts, there should be an increase in new case filings in the courts. The conclusions of this study, therefore, are only suggestive, since the caseload data cannot definitively show whether or not the methamphetamine enforcement effort has directly impacted new case filings, case dispositions, or case backlogs in the courts of the 10 counties studied. The study concluded that there is anecdotal evidence and suggestive empirical evidence that in southwestern Indiana methamphetamine enforcement efforts have increased police workloads, jail populations and costs, probation and other community corrections costs, prosecutors' workloads, court delays, cost for countering the environmental hazards of detected meth labs, and costs related to services for children of methamphetamine "cookers" and users. 5 figures and 9 references