Bill calls for longer prison sentences

February 20th, 2013 at 10:53 am by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

The Indiana House of Representatives will vote next week on a bill that would lead to longer sentences for violent criminals. The bill that won unanimous approval in the House Ways and Means Committee would require murderers and other violent felons to serve 85% of their sentences. Many of them now serve only 50%.

“The worst of the worst, the people at the top, they’re gonna serve more time,” said Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington.) “We’ve enhanced those penalties.”

It’s part of a comprehensive effort to rewrite sentencing guidelines that would also reduce sentences for some lesser crimes and eliminate prison overcrowding. The emphasis, however, is on keeping sociopaths locked up. Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville is the author. “We’ve also reduced the credit time you can earn for getting a college degree from four years to two,” said Steuerwald. “The goal is certainty in sentencing.”

The bill grows out of a task force launched in 2009 by Governor Mitch Daniels. The last comprehensive overhaul of Indiana’s criminal code took place in the ’70′s.

Lawmakers say the bill could postpone the need for a new prison by 4 or 5 years. Current projections would require the construction of a new state prison in 2019.

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