Indiana state lawmakers revise laws to make inmates serve longer - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Indiana state lawmakers revise laws to make inmates serve longer sentences

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Barbed wire and orange jumpsuits haven't changed for Indiana inmates, but the amount of time they spend behind bars will. State lawmakers' revisions to the criminal code went into effect July 1.

The overhaul is expected to have a large impact on local prosecutors' offices and jails.

"When somebody gets a sentence, they're going to serve a lot more of that actual sentence than have a lot of that taken off with good time credit," said Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull.

The change applies to those who commit serious felonies. Before the criminal code was updated -- many violent offenders only had to serve 50 percent of their sentence. Now they'll be required to serve 75 percent, according to Mull.

"As a prosecutor, it makes it a lot more easier for me to talk with crime victims to talk with crime victims and say you can be assured, this is the sentence that he will get and probably this is the actual amount of time that will be done," he said.

But not all criminals will see more time. Mull says the penalties for some non-violent offenses, especially drug-related, have gone down. It's part of a bigger picture goal for Indiana state officials to cut down on the prison population.

"I think the legislature saw that they didn't want to build any more prisons, so they want to do something to alleviate that problem for them -- again, it drops it down on us," said Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden.

Rodden tells WDRB News the new provisions call for inmates to spend more time within county jail walls instead of transferring to a state prison.

"We're going to have to deal with it on a local level and eventually, we'll have more problems," Rodden said. He's concerned more local taxpayer money will go into maintaining a larger inmate population.

"It's just the nature of this beast and it's going to cost money."

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