Indiana’s sentencing laws will get their first top-to-bottom review in more than a quarter-century, reports the Northwest Indiana Times. Gov. Mitch Daniels announced a partnership among Indiana, the Pew Center on the States, and the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center to examine the state’s sentencing laws, recidivism rates, and incarceration practices with the aim of saving money.
“Having more dangerous and repeat-offending criminals in prison is the best way to protect Hoosiers, but if our current laws and practices result in nondangerous offenders taking up space at high cost to taxpayers, there may be better ways to manage that,” Daniels said. Since the last sentencing review in 1976, Indiana’s prison population has increased from 7,500 to nearly 29,000. While the average sentence for a prisoner is 19 years, last year 4,583 offenders were sentenced to fewer than 90 days, with 1,361 serving fewer than 30 days. Constantly moving people through the prison system for short sentences costs a lot of money, said Adam Gelb, project director for the Pew Center. The state spends $700 million a year on prisons.