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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ind. Law - Reactive legislation and quick fixes vs. the big picture

"Indiana panel backs narrower early-release law: College degrees cut sex offenders' time" is the headline to this story today in the Louisville Courier Journal, written by Tom Davies of the Associated Press. The story begins:

INDIANAPOLIS — People convicted of sex offenses wouldn’t be allowed to have their prison sentences shortened by earning college degrees under a proposal supported Tuesday by an Indiana Senate committee.

The Senate’s Corrections and Criminal Law Committee voted 8-1 to advance the bill [SB 260], proposed following complaints from victims’ families about the early release last year of a former swimming coach and former church pastor who both were convicted of sexual misconduct with teenage girls.

Here are some earlier ILB entries on this issue:Now back to today's AP story, here is more:
Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said he agreed with Merritt’s aim of making sexual offenders serve more of their sentence time but worried that the bill might conflict with a larger package overhauling criminal sentencing laws that is making its way through the Indiana House.

That proposal would reduce the maximum college education-time credit from the current four years to two years for all inmates and scale back the amount of good-behavior credit time that inmates convicted of the most serious crimes could receive. * * *

[Merritt's bill] would still allow those convicted of rape, child molestation, child seduction and other sexual crimes to get early release time for earning a GED or completing rehabilitation programs.

Merritt said he disagreed with arguments that it was improper to block sex offenders from being able to earn release credits like other inmates.

“I believe those are heinous crimes and should be treated different,” he said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 23, 2013 10:31 AM
Posted to Indiana Law