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Sen. Steele: Criminal Code Reform Moves To Gov.'s Desk
Updated March 13, 2014 2:03 PM | Filed under: Politics
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(STATEHOUSE) - Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) to reform Indiana's criminal code cleared its final passage in the Senate today and moves to the governor's desk to be signed into law.

House Bill 1006, authored by State Reps. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) and Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), makes a variety of updates to the sentencing reforms passed in last year's criminal code legislation. Major changes under the legislation passed last year and this year include:

· Changing the felony classification system from four to six levels, creating better proportionality in criminal sentencing.

· Creating more certain sentences for offenders by reducing credit time.

· Giving judges and prosecutors more discretion to sanction low-level offenders in local programs instead of sending them to prison.

· Allowing the Department of Correction to transfer funds to local probation and community corrections programs if the sentencing reforms lead to a shift from state prisons to local programs.

"It has been a monumental task to carefully revamp our state's criminal code," Steele said. "The end goal was to make sentencing fairer, decrease recidivism and avoid building a new prison, and all the while keeping the worst criminals behind bars. I think we've achieved that."

HB 1006 was the result of the Criminal Code Evaluation Committee, a sentencing policy study committee that has been researching and reviewing this issue since 2009.

"This year's legislation is the final culmination of years of hard work from many lawmakers and experts in the criminal justice field," Steele said. "I consider this to be one of the most important bills that I've had the privilege of carrying in my time at the Statehouse."

If signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence, the full-scale update to Indiana's criminal code would take effect July 1, 2014.

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