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Criminal Code bill gets Senate hearing

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Concerns over sentencing provisions and pleas for adequate funding dominated the Senate hearing on legislation overhauling the state’s criminal code.

Members of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law convened today to review House Bill 1006 and hear testimony from various proponents and opponents of the measure.

Committee Chair Sen. Mike Young recessed the hearing after two and a half hours. The committee will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday to review proposed amendments.

HB 1006 increases the penalties for offenders sentenced to prison but balances that against providing treatment and programs in the local communities for low-level criminals. This approach is promoted as a way to reduce recidivism and lower the cost of incarceration for the state.

Advocates for intensive probation over prison warned without a proper level of funding, the communities will not be able to offer the help these low-level offenders need and eventually these people will be pushed into the Indiana Department of Correction.

Don Travis, president of the Probation Officers’ Professional Association of Indiana, strongly encouraged the committee to provide the funding that communities need to implement alternative programs.

“If this bill goes into effect without the proper community resources,” he said, “it will not have the effect that’s anticipated.”

Steve Luce, executive director of the Indiana Sheriffs Association, also pushed for funding. He noted treatment programs do work with redirecting many inmates away from criminal activity. However, the key piece is funding dollars.

While Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council, applauded the bill’s sentencing proportionality, he said the measure fell short on reformation.

He pointed to the Indiana Constitution which calls for a penal code founded on reformation instead of vindictive justice. This bill, in its current form, he said, looks more toward retribution rather than rehabilitation.

He predicted the sentencing provisions, which call for inmates to serve at least 75 percent of their terms, will increase the state’s prison population. Also, echoing the previous speakers, he noted without proper funding to the communities, the offenders will not be monitored or supervised so they will likely violate their probations and end up in the Department of Correction which will make the current problem worse.

Landis proposed the sentencing language in the bill be rewritten to mirror the current sentencing standards. Then a summer study committee can review the data and develop a better sentencing structure.





 

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  1. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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