Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Columns

September 23, 2013

HAYDEN: The mythology of crime deterrence

Back in 1990, when the nation was still deep into the “war on drugs,” Congress passed a law that compelled states to suspend the driver’s licenses of all convicted drug offenders or risk losing part of their federal highway funds. States could opt out only if their Legislature and governor went on the record opposing the law.

At the time, it was seen as a major public policy decision that, in essence, said this: There is a clear societal interest in keeping people off the road who’ve committed a crime, even if that crime has nothing to do with a person’s ability to drive safely.

In 1996, Congress came back again with the same remedy for “deadbeat” parents. The federal welfare-reform bill made all states grant the courts or government agencies the power to suspend or restrict a driver’s license for someone overdue on their child support payments.

Since then, states have used the penalty for a whole slew of offenses unrelated to traffic crimes. Drop out of school, get caught defacing a building with graffiti or sneaking into a bar as a minor – those are just a few of the offenses that can put your driver’s license at risk here in Indiana.

Is that good public policy? That’s a question that’s being asked by some members of the Legislature’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee, which is engaged in the ongoing (and thankless) effort of rewriting Indiana’s criminal code.

One factor driving the question: The estimated 350,000 Hoosiers who’ve had their licenses suspended or revoked, triggering them to lose their car insurance as well as their driving privileges. Too many are out there driving anyway. Some are joy-riding, but others just need to get work or school. If caught, the penalties – including escalating license-reinstatement fees – quickly pile up.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • FREY: An ode to service days gone by There were many times in the past year that I walked by the small glass corner curio cabinet.I often glanced at the photographs from the corners of my eyes as I made my way past the nurse’s station and out the pass-coded locked doors.It is one of man

    August 22, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: A matter of bad habits Mary Ellen and I have been happy together for so long that we sometimes forget how much we annoy each other, so on the trip back home from our recent vacation, it was time catch up on our bad habits.For example, I told Mary Ellen that she is a relent

    August 22, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Life is not all choices There is a post on Facebook that says, “Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible

    August 21, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Why government openness matters One of the fundamental lessons of the 9/11 tragedy was that our government carried a share of blame for the failure to stop the attacks. Not because it was asleep at the switch or ignorant of the dangers that Al Qaeda posed, but because the agencies

    August 21, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Quality of life and leaders both matter It was with some astonishment and much disappointment I read in the Aug. 5 edition of the Pharos-Tribune that one of our local city councilmen was quoted as saying that previous efforts in Logansport to use Tax Increment Financing money for quality o

    August 20, 2014

  • RAMPELL: Here comes Entrepreneur Barbie WASHINGTON — Lego’s groundbreaking female-scientists set sold out almost immediately after it was released this month. But never fear, fans of feminist toys: A new Barbie doll, now in stock, is also shattering the plastic ceiling.Yes, that swan-necke

    August 20, 2014

  • MARCUS: Hoosier workers not gaining on the nation A few readers of the South Bend newspaper have sent emails complaining that either they do not understand my columns or that I waste their time by not sticking to the facts. That I include some of my conclusions from the data seems to be an irritant.

    August 19, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Stock market guru will work for food At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion dollars. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has becom

    August 19, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Craft brewers and vintners return to fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week. When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putt

    August 18, 2014

  • LYONS: Climate change deniers resort to attacks Recently a friend posted a video on Facebook that he asserted would demolish the Godless theory of evolution. On it, a fellow sitting in a pickup and wearing a backward baseball cap smugly explained that Darwinian evolution contradicts the Second Law

    August 18, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.