Uncategorized Study Released: Justice Reinvestment in Indiana

Study Released: Justice Reinvestment in Indiana

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On Wednesday December 15 the governor endorsed recommendations on changes to Indiana’s criminal code and sentencing policies based on a recently concluded study. With the governor’s endorsement, the recommendations will now go before the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission and are expected to be included in a legislation to be filed in January.

According to the governor’s press release,

…the state will improve public safety and security for Hoosiers by concentrating Department of Correction resources on the state’s most violent criminals and by taking a new and smarter approach to those who commit lesser offenses.

Announced in June 2010 by Gov. Daniels, the review was conducted through a partnership with the Pew Center on the States and the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center (CSG).

For a quick summary of the study, visit the CSG website >>

Download the complete report Justice Reinvestment in Indiana (PDF)>>

The report includes three proposed categories of policy changes:

  • Improve proportionality in sentencing and ensure prison space for the worst offenders by creating a more precise set of drug and theft sentencing laws and providing judges with more sentencing options for individuals who commit the least serious felony offenses.
  • Strengthen community supervision by focusing resources on high-risk offenders and creating incentives for supervision agencies to coordinate better with one another.
  • Reduce recidivism and bolster public safety by increasing access to community-based substance abuse and mental health treatment and enabling probation officers to respond with more effective, swift and certain sanctions.

For more background on Indiana’s prison population and sentencing reform, read the earlier post Alternative sentencing and community corrections>>

Sidenote: New Castle Prison Expansion…

The governor also took the opportunity to announce that the state would be contracting with an outside vendor, The GEO Group, to build a 512-bed high security annex to the New Castle Correctional Facility. According to the governor, GEO will finance and operate and own [presumably for the life of the contract] the facility for maximum security prisoners contiguous to the existing prison. GEO Group currently holds a privatization contract to operate the New Castle Prison.