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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. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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