The new guidelines establish felony ranges numbered from Class 1 to Class 6 instead of the current A through D system.
The new guidelines decrease minimum sentences for many crimes but require that people serve about 75 percent of a sentence. Current law allows offenders to serve 50 percent of their time. Lawmakers also hope to adjust the legislation to ensure that offenders such as child molesters don't serve significantly less time than low-level drug dealers.
"The idea was to make the punishment meet the crime," said state Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis.
Many prosecutors say penalties for dealing certain quantities of hard drugs are too low. Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council, said lawmakers should increase opportunities to use education to reduce sentences to address issues of recidivism and prison crowding.