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Bill would expand felonies, keep violent offenders behind bars

Updated: February 19, 2013 9:47AM



INDIANAPOLIS - Lawmakers are trying to rewrite the Indiana Criminal Code to help keep more violent criminals in prison, and allow more flexibility for non-violent offenses, to try to reduce costs in the Department of Correction.

Authored by State Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, with co-authors State Reps. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, and Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, House Bill 1006 is the first major revision to the state’s criminal code since 1977.

The bill will expand the number of felony classes from four to six, and will allow for more flexibility on behalf of a judge for nonviolent crimes.

“The overall goal of this is drug and non-violent offenses would be dealt with at the county level and not go to prison,” said Joel Schumm, a professor at the Indiana University- Indianapolis Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

“People who would otherwise be in prison would receive something like probation or community service.”

Offenders at the other end of the spectrum would likely stay in prison longer. Current law allows for inmates to receive credit time for good behavior, which can cut the penalty in half. The new law would require the worst offenders to serve at least 75% of their sentence.

The bill passed through the Courts and Criminal Code Committee Jan. 16, and passed Ways and Means Monday. It heads to the House floor next.



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