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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "State plans more prison cell units"

Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports today in a story that begins:

Indiana will build eight prison cell units in 2017 and 2018 to cope with a rising prison population.

The increases come despite a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill passed by lawmakers that was supposed to reduce overall Indiana Department of Correction population by sending many low-level offenders to county jails or community corrections programs.

Aaron Garner of the DOC said population has dropped initially but will start to rise again in 2017.

That is because legislators also reduced credit time for many offenders, which means most felons will spend at least 75 percent of their sentence in prison. This is up from 50 percent.

And by early 2017 the state runs out of beds for adult males.

Legislators on the State Budget Committee hearing the presentation Wednesday seemed distressed by the news.

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, noted that during the legislative session there were differing projections floating around from the DOC, Legislative Services Agency and a third-party contractor.

She questioned what assumptions the DOC is using, and Garner said it is a mix of new advisory sentences and historical sentencing trends. Judges have new discretion in sentencing in the law, but it’s unclear whether they will use it.

“Until we get a better feel for sentencing practices under the new law we just don’t know,” Garner said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 18, 2014 02:35 PM
Posted to Indiana Government