Legislation introduced this past session, House Bill (HB) 1202 would have ensured more families are restored and more individuals can escape the shadow cast by the worst day of their lives. Unfortunately, the bill did not advance through the Senate.
At this time, more than 1,400 people are in prison for sentences that Indiana lawmakers decided eight years ago were too harsh. In 2014, the General Assembly reduced the sentencing range judges can impose for a set of nonviolent offenses, including distribution of certain controlled substances and theft.
Unfortunately, it failed to make these sentencing changes retroactive. And Indiana is spending $22,000 per person for a total of $32 million locking these individuals up.
A broad swath of research from organizations across the political spectrum have demonstrated that lengthy sentences are not effective. Not only do lengthy sentences fail to deter crime, but they also result in the incarceration of many people far beyond justification by either public safety or proportional accountability.
This, in turn, leads to bloated corrections budgets, and incalculable human costs with little to no public safety benefit.
It’s time to give Hoosiers a second chance, and to create more “soft on taxpayer, smart on crime” reforms for our state.
Urge your lawmakers to support sentencing reform and second chances!