Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ sentencing reform proposal — an attempt to save money and avoid building more prisons — has been overhauled by lawmakers to the point that officials say it would require the state to build three new prisons in the next two decades, reports the Indianapolis Star. Daniels says he would veto the bill he once championed if it isn’t changed.
The original proposal — endorsed by Daniels and drafted by a commission of the state’s top justice officials — sought to lessen prison time for nonviolent drug offenders and bring Indiana’s harsh sentencing laws into line with those of other states. After county prosecutors assailed it as soft on crime, senators gutted the bill and even lengthened sentences for some offenders. “It’s a shame, honestly, that what looked to be a consensus is unraveled because of one interest group, the prosecutors, and they do not speak for all prosecutors,” Daniels said. “The main point here was to incarcerate people in a smarter way and to save Indiana’s taxpayers a lot of money.