Amid other demands the Indiana legislature will be juggling this year is a request from the Indiana Department of Correction for $50 million to build and operate new prison cells, reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Officials say that without more inmate housing, the state will run out of beds for male inmates in about two years. That’s despite a criminal code that took effect last year that will send many nonviolent felony offenders back to county jails to serve their sentences.
The criminal code revisions, in addition to sending more prisoners back to counties, tightened the credit-for-time-served formula for other types of prisoners, keeping them in prison longer. It’s not yet clear how much more pressure that will put on the prison system, but officials believe they would have had to increase capacity soon anyway. Indiana’s prison population numbered 6,281 in 1980. At the end of 2013, it was 29,377. That’s more than 4½ times as many prisoners.