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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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