Niki Kelly, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that HB 1006, which overhauls the Indiana Criminal Code has passed the House Ways & Means Committee and is headed to the full House. The introduced version of the bill was written by the criminal code evaluation committee; so this is not something being undertaken lightly.
It’s a large document, so I haven’t read it (in fact, my browser is only loading through Title 9 of the Indiana Code – when the meat of the bill presumably takes place in Title 35.) However, the digest reads as follows:
Makes various changes to the criminal code, including changes to the law concerning community corrections, probation, sentencing, probation funding, drug and alcohol program funding, involuntary manslaughter, communicable disease crimes, battery, hazing, obstruction of traffic crimes, interference with medical services crimes, kidnapping, confinement, criminal mischief, railroad mischief, computer crimes, theft, deception and fraud crimes, timber spiking, offenses against general public administration, criminal gang activity crimes, stalking, offenses against public health, child care provider crimes, weapon crimes, drug crimes, protection zones, rape and earned credit time. Repeals the law concerning criminal deviate conduct, and consolidates the crime of criminal deviate conduct into the crime of rape. Changes the phrase “deviate sexual conduct” to “other sexual conduct”.Repeals laws concerning carjacking, failure of a student athlete to disclose recruitment, and credit restricted felons. Removes the current four level felony penalty classification and replaces that classification with a six level felony penalty classification. Assigns new felony penalties to each crime. Urges the legislative council to require an existing study committee to evaluate the criminal law statutes in IC 7.1 and IC 9 and to make recommendations to the general assembly for the modification of the criminal law statutes in those titles. Makes technical corrections. Makes conforming amendments.
According to Kelly’s report, the goal of the legislation is to make sentencing more proportional to the crime – increasing penalties for serious offenses, reducing penalties for drug offenses; as well as diverting low level offenders from the Department of Corrections to local programs. It also changes the good time credit from a (nearly) automatic 50% to a requirement that offenders serve 75% of their sentence. In addition, it restructures the felony levels from the current 4 (A-D felonies) to 6.
As a person interested in local government, I’ll want to take a look at the proposed changes to the Community Corrections program — if more offenders are going to be using those local programs, increased funding at that level will be necessary; and hopefully some control designed to make sure that local government has some method of checking sentencing decisions if those decisions are sending more offenders to the local programs than the funding can serve.