Changes to Indiana’s criminal code now require low-level offenders to be sent to county jails instead of state prisons beginning Tuesday, July 1, according to the Associated Press. Despite this, some are concerned about the financial burdens on counties. However, the changes also reduce the minimum sentences for low-level offenders. There will also be reimbursements for the cost of housing low-level offenders.
Here’s an overview of some of the changes to Indiana’s criminal code beginning Tuesday, July 1.
1. Felonies ranked by levels 1 to 6 instead of A to D
Felonies will be ranked from level 1 to 6, according to The Indianapolis Star. Level 6 is the lowest level of felonies. The new felony levels replace the previous A to D system, with D being the lowest class of felonies. Misdemeanor classifications will continue to follow the A to D system and the penalty ranges remain unchanged.
2. Lower minimum sentences
The minimum sentences for many crimes has been reduced, according to the Associated Press. Serious felons will continue to serve 75 percent of their sentences, but those who commit the lowest-level of felonies will only serve 50 percent of their sentences. The sentence reduction for educational degrees and classes has also been limited to two years.
3. Harsher penalties for drug crimes and habitual criminals
There will be sentencing enhancements for drug crimes and habitual criminals, according to The Indianapolis Star. There will be increased penalties for drug crimes involving heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines and drug dealing offenses if there is a child present.
4. Low-level offenders to county jails, not state prisons
State prisons will no longer accept low-level offenders, according to RTV6. They will be sent to county jails.
5. New funding mechanisms
The updated criminal code also provides funding options for local law enforcement, according to the Associated Press. Sheriffs can receive per diem or medical expense reimbursements for felony offenders who have a release date of less than 90 days. This will eventually include lowest-level felony offenders with a release date of less than 366 days beginning next year. However, the funding is subject to approval by the state budget agency.
There will also be $11 million in grants for community corrections and probation departments if the Department of Corrections saves money as a result of the changes.