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Proposed changes would make convicted felons serve at least 75 percent of sentence

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The worst-of-the-worst criminal offenders will be facing more time while low-level offenders will be given intensive probation under the new sentencing provisions included in the rewrite of the Indiana Criminal Code.

Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Danville, is the author of House Bill 1006 which makes significant changes to the state’s criminal code. He and two co-authors on the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee - Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, and Linda Lawson, D-Hammond - outlined the proposed revisions at a press conference Wednesday morning.

The basis for the bill comes from the report submitted by the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission. Formed in 2009, the commission reviewed the code and offered recommendations for changes.

“The goal of the commission was to institute a new criminal code bill that instituted proportionality in the code and certainty in sentencing,” Steuerwald said.

Most significant, the 2009 evaluation commission divided the four felony classes into six levels plus a separate level for murder. In committee, Steuerwald said he and Pierce worked closely with prosecutors and public defenders to develop the sentencing ranges.

A key change is that credit for good behavior has been adjusted so offenders will be serving at least 75 percent of their sentences. Currently, one day of good behavior gives an inmate one day off his or her sentence. That is being increased to three days of good behavior will equal one day credit.

Also, the worst-of-the-worst – murders, child molesters and rapists –  are going to serve more time. Their sentences will be enhanced so they will serve at least 85 percent of their time.

For the middle range, the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee looked at making the sentences proportional to the crime, Pierce said. Low-level, nonviolent offenders would receive intensive probation that uses proven evidence-based best practices to address the root cause of the crime and reduce recidivism.

Instead of having these offenders cycle through the Indiana Department of Correction for three to six months, these low level felons would be put under intense supervision, like that provided by drug courts, and given help in solving the problems that are driving them to commit crimes.

“So we’re adding a smart-on-crime element to our already tough on crime element we have in the code,” Pierce said.

HB 1006 was passed unanimously through both the Courts and Criminal Code Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. If the Legislature passes the bill, it will take effect July 1, 2014.


 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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