Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2012
(UNDATED) - Hoosier law enforcement officials could see changes in how crimes are classified and how criminals are punished.
Those are among policies under review by the Indiana General Assembly according to Senator Brent Steele.
Steele's committee conducted a hearing Monday on House Bill 1011, which could see counties handling the incarceration and other punishment of some Class D felons.
Steele, however, said he did not know whether the House bill would receive much more than that. Steele says that there needs to be a funding mechanism in place first. He says he doesn't like giving unfunded mandates to counties.
Some sheriffs and county officials are concerned that if the Department of Correction says they're not going to take D felonies, it will put more cost on counties to house those inmates.
Steele said there's little doubt counties will have to handle more offenders locally, saying that classifications for felonies and misdemeanors will likely be expanded. Steele says something must be done, because prisons are running out of space and the taxpayers don't like building more prisons.
Steele did say prosecutors appear to be happy with the new matrix of crime classifications and added the pending changes should offer judges more tools in terms of sentencing.
Steele says currently the D felons the DOC is complaining about, are those that judges are sending to them with no real criminal backgrounds. That is because judges have little choice, but to do that under the current law.
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