ILNews

Transition period starting as new criminal code takes effect

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Criminal court judges in Indiana have now begun instituting the most comprehensive overhaul to the state’s criminal code in more than 30 years.

House Enrolled Act 1006, passed by the Indiana Legislature during the 2013 session, became effective July 1. The General Assembly reworked the state’s criminal code with the goal of making sentences proportional to the crime and reserving prison space for violent offenders. It also placed new emphasis on providing community-based treatment for non-violent offenders who commit drug and property crimes.

The switch will not be clean. Judges will have to alternate between the old and new criminal codes since some defendants appearing before them in the days ahead committed their offenses prior in July 1. Grant Circuit Court Judge Mark Spitzer expects by the end of the year, sitting judges will be comfortable with the new law but, he acknowledged, getting comfortable will take time.

“Certainly the transition period is going to be interesting,” Spitzer said.

The Indiana Judicial Center has been offering training sessions to judges since November to review the new criminal code. Spitzer is among the judges who have conducted the sessions, and he anticipates most of the trial judges in the state will have participated in the seminars by the end of the month.

In addition, judges at the seminars are being given a quick reference guide to the new code which they can keep in the court to answer any questions.

The most uncertainty associated with the new code, Spitzer said, is the requirement that low-level offenders be kept in their home counties and offered treatment for their addictions. No one knows how the local jail populations will be impacted.

Spitzer said while non-violent offenders can, in theory, be handled in county jails, in practice it will be a challenge for local governments since very little or no additional funding for the inmates will be coming from the state.

Still, Spitzer said, these community-based programs can reduce recidivism which can save all sorts of costs. Overall, he concluded, the changes to the criminal code are good but “change is difficult for everyone and this will be difficult.”

 
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

ADVERTISEMENT