The bill rewriting Indiana’s Criminal Code gained approval of the House of Representatives Monday by an 80 to 13 vote. The measure now moves to the Senate.
Based on the recommendation of the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission, House Bill 1006 divides the current four classes of felonies into six levels and requires offenders to serve at least 75 percent of their sentences.
Author Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, is not surprised by the bipartisan support the measure has received. The basis of the bill, he said, has been studied and debated for three years. Members of the CCEC went through the current criminal code line by line and made suggestions for updates and improvements.
The legislation has received a thorough study, Steuerwald said, and it’s based on best practices that worked in other states.
HB 1006 will now be considered by the Senate, and Steuerwald remains optimistic. He said the Senate’s lead sponsor, Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, is pleased with the legislation.
“I do not anticipate any major revisions in the Senate,” Steuerwald said.
HB 1006 includes a need for additional funding. The bill calls for offering options like intensive probation instead of prison time for low-level offenders. The goal is to reduce recidivism by addressing the reasons why theses individuals are committing crimes.
The bill also calls for the state to take over funding of the chief and deputy chief probation officers in each county and put resources into a probation improvement fund. The bill would require $1.9 million for the probation improvement fund and $13 million for the probation officers’ salaries.