This is a family-friendly blog, so I’ll not say “shit flows downhill” in the headline. Also, I’m a little skittish about using the phrase here at all since it’d be pretty callous to refer to inmates as “shit.” That’s not my intent — rather, I’m referring to the costs of incarceration. Back in 2014, the General Assembly changed the rules so that low level felons would be incarcerated locally, generally in county jails, rather than in state prisons.
According to an AP article:
The state pays jails $35 daily for each of those inmates to cover food and staffing, but the money doesn’t pay for additional jail space. Dozens of Indiana’s 92 counties are studying, actively pursuing or developing expansion plans or are in the midst of building new facilities.
There was also supposedly a plan for the Department of Corrections to evaluate the savings it realized from not having to house these low level felons and the savings would be passed along to the counties to help them pay for the additional burden. But, last I heard (early 2016), the DOC hadn’t identified any savings, despite a 17% reduction in Department of Corrections sentences, amounting to 5,000 fewer inmates. I don’t know if there have been any developments on that front. But, per the AP article, “lawmakers passed a new law earlier this year that tries to address the jail crowding issue, which local officials say has grown since the state sentencing changes took effect in 2014. Counties can now direct a portion of the local income tax rate to go toward correctional and rehabilitation facilities. The legislation requires counties that are building or renovating jails to conduct a feasibility study to examine possible alternatives.”
Reminds me of Caddyshack:
Hey, Lama! Hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know?”
And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.”
So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.
So, there won’t be any money, but the General Assembly has given local officials the opportunity to take the heat for passing a tax increase to fund the DOC’s inmate reduction. Not exactly total consciousness, but I suppose it’s something.