Pharos-Tribune

Local News

September 7, 2012

Report on prison inmates may shape next debate on sentence reform

INDIANAPOLIS — A study of low-level offenders in Indiana prisons show most are repeat offenders with multiple past convictions and failed attempts at community-based supervision programs.

The study, released Thursday, shows 4 out of 5 people who are in prison on class D felony convictions had prior criminal records — and most had a history of violating conditions of parole or probation from those earlier crimes. The study also shows that that the longest prison terms for class D offenders went to those who can’t or won’t stay out of trouble: Those with multiple prior convictions and parole and probation violations.

The study’s findings, which will shape the next legislative debate on sentencing reform, upend the notion that Indiana prosecutors and judges are crowding the state prisons with first-time, low-level offenders.

“The results of this are very surprising to me,” said State Sen. Greg Taylor, an Indianapolis Democrat who sits on the legislative Criminal Code Evaluation Commission. “It seems prosecutors don’t want to send people to the DOC (the Department of Correction) as we might assume.”

Findings from the study, conducted by the Center for Criminal Justice Research at Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute, were presented to commission members Thursday. The study and its findings are significant. Prosecutors had been blamed for derailing sentencing reform legislation in 2011 that was aimed at cutting state prison costs. The legislation would have diverted low-level offenders out of the state prisons and back into community-based treatment or supervision programs.

Advocates of the plan argued that low-level offenders, especially those accused of theft and drug crimes, are taking up space that should be used for more serious offenders. But prosecutors said the study shows that the class D felons who are behind bars are there for a reason: Because alternatives to prison have failed.

“This shows that Indiana prosecutors are doing a credible job,” said Floyd County prosecuting attorney Keith Henderson, who’d pushed for the study and convinced legislators that it was needed.

Roger Jarjoura and Thomas Stucky, the IU researchers who conducted the study, walked commission members through the 72-page report during Thursday’s commission meeting. Jarjoura and Stucky spent months pouring through county-level court records to track more than 2,700 Department of Correction inmates who were behind bars on class D felony convictions.

Among their findings: Class D felons sent to state prisons had an average of five prior criminal convictions; 80 percent of the first-time, class D offenders sent to prison had a violent crime such as battery or domestic violence; more than 25 percent of the class D felons were in prison on charges of theft or receiving stolen property; and in about 53 percent of the theft cases, the value of the stolen item was less than $250.

Other findings include: Half of the theft cases involved charges of shoplifting; about 25 percent of the class D felons in prison were there on drug possession charges; more than 50 percent of the class D felons in DOC prisons are there because they violated the terms of their probation or parole.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Area could see higher healthcare premiums Individual premiums for healthcare under the Patents Protection and Affordable Care Act could go up in counties with poorer health, according to a Ball State University study.The study said counties with poor health, specifically high diabetes incide

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS-PT072914 Voting2.jpg Round 2: Deadlines approach to file for November election Openings are filling up as deadlines to file approach to run for local town councils and school boards.Up for election this fall are town council seats in Royal Center’s districts No. 2, 3 and at large and at large in Walton as well. The filing deadl

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT073114 Hopper2.jpg The right track: Logansport boy advocates railroad crossing safety

    It's not uncommon to see 12-year-old Ethan Hopper sitting in a lawn chair near his father's business on 18th Street in Logansport, his cell phone pointed at a locomotive heading down the nearby tracks. The engines make up a fascination modern technol

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos 1 Link

  • Cass Co. Community Foundation eligible for grant The Cass County Community Foundation is eligible to receive half a million dollars from Lilly Endowment Inc. as a matching grant at some point over the course of the next couple of years.Lilly Endowment announced the sixth phase of its Giving Indiana

    July 31, 2014

  • Locals: EPA delay request too late Logansport officials say while they appreciate a state executive’s request to delay new rules on coal power plants, its timing still requires pursuing a new power plant for the city.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published last month its Cl

    July 31, 2014

  • Supreme Court observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking of next chief INDIANAPOLIS — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post.Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named.A seven-member panel of

    July 31, 2014

  • Police Blotter: July 30, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 30, 2014

  • Pence pushing Medicaid alternative during DC trip INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is heading to Washington to seek federal approval of his proposed state-run alternative to traditional Medicaid in order to expand health care coverage for low-income residents. The governor's office says P

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS-PT073014 Hickman.jpg Two arrested in purse-, wallet-snatching spree

    MONTICELLO — Two were arrested late last week in relation to a string of purse and wallet thefts from shopping carts in local department stores. Lindsey R. Hogg, 22, Monticello, and Rachel D. Hickman, 23, Burnettsville, were arrested by the Lafayette

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Fatal wreck UPDATE: Monticello woman killed in overnight wreck

    A Monticello woman was killed late Monday night in an automobile accident involving a car and semi-trailer truck in the northbound lane of U.S. 31 near the junction with U.S. 931.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
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.
Poll

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
eEdition