Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Local News

December 12, 2011

Same crime, different time

Counties vary widely in sending low-level offenders to prison

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-day series examining the issue of minor felony convictions related to Indiana prison overcrowding, offender recidivism and sentencing fairness, along with legislative reform intended to ease the problems.

INDIANAPOLIS — At first glance, the rural Indiana counties of Huntington and Martin look like they’d have much in common.

Both are populated with small towns that pride themselves on safe streets and some of lowest crime rates in the state.

But, for law-breakers, the difference between the two counties is stark.

According to numbers released by the Indiana Department of Correction this summer, the odds of getting prison time for committing the most common crimes are higher in Huntington County than anywhere else in the state. The odds in Martin County — near zero.

The same numbers — taken from a 12-month count of DOC inmates convicted of the lowest-level felony offenses — shows a similar disparity in Indiana urban counties with high crimes rates.

From August 2010 to July 2011, Marion County, home to nearly a million people, sent 100 times more class D felons into the DOC than Lake County, which is half its size.

Indiana law gives counties sentencing options for class D felons ranging from probation to prison time. But the DOC numbers show a patchwork quilt of incarceration across the state, suggesting a wide variation in how different counties treat the same offenses.

It’s a geographic disparity with impact. If you’re caught committing one of more than 150 offenses categorized as a class D felony, where you did the crime may determine if you do any time.

As the Indiana General Assembly readies itself for the 2012 session that begins in January, lawmakers pushing for sentencing reform are using that geographic disparity to make their case.

To cut state prison costs, they want more county officials to see the DOC as Martin County Prosecutor Mike Steiner does: a last resort for low-level offenders.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Firefighters investigate smoke downtown Firefighters investigate smoke smell downtown

    Firefighters with the Logansport Fire Department responded to a call of a smell of smoke in a downtown office building.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT082114 Opera House Now.jpg Dreaming the old dreams over DELPHI — “To dream the old dreams over is a luxury divine.”That line from the late local poet James Whitcomb Riley was mentioned several times Wednesday at a celebration in Delphi. Those who quoted the line said it was a fitting description for one o

    August 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Schools react to report on bullying The Indiana Department of Education released the first-ever statewide data on school bullying three weeks ago, and a local school found out its data was not entirely accurate.Columbia Middle School — the only school in the Logansport Community School

    August 21, 2014

  • Logansport Learning Academy now open The city’s first-ever licensed early childcare center opened earlier this week.Logansport Learning Academy has been in the works since summer 2013 and finally opened its doors Monday with 12 kids attending and 30 signed up, according to owner David T

    August 21, 2014

  • Police Blotter: Aug. 20, 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.

    August 20, 2014

  • Logansport City Council prepares 2015 budget Logansport City Council members started meeting with department heads earlier this week to discuss proposed expenses as they shape the budget for next year.Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin prefaced the discussion Monday night by saying the budget as it

    August 20, 2014

  • Staples to close by Sept. 20 Logansport's Staples office supply store is closing Sept. 20, a company spokesperson said. It's the latest in a slew of closings the company announced in March it would pursue, stating its goal was to shutter about 225 stores, more than 10 percent of

    August 20, 2014

  • NWS-PT082014 Earthquake4.jpg Shake, rattle and roll: Students learn earthquake safety with simulator WALTON — Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School students experienced what three levels of earthquakes feel like during the school day Tuesday.The Quake Cottage, a mobile earthquake simulator, is run in partnership with the Indiana Department of Homeland Secu

    August 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • Grissom Fire Department 04 [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Military fire power: Grissom FD critical to regional safety GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE — There are six people trapped inside a burning airplane. You and your partner have 10 minutes to rescue them.And you have to do it blind, groping and crawling in total darkness, burdened down with fire gear and an oxygen tan

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT082014 McTaggart awards.jpg Writers win McTaggart honors The Trustees of the Logansport-Cass County Public Library recently announced the winners of the fifth annual McTaggart Writing Competition.In the student poetry division, Lari Rutschmann took first place with her poem “Hands” and second place with an

    August 20, 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
Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man
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

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

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
eEdition