The House votes Monday on the biggest overhaul of Indiana sentencing laws in 36 years.
A line-by-line rewrite of the criminal code expands the current four classes of felony into six. There would be lower sentencing ranges for the least serious crimes.
Now more serious offenders wouldn’t face longer sentences, but they’d have to serve more of them. The law replaces the current good-behavior credit of one day for every day served with a day for every three days.
The bill marks the culmination of a four-year review of the criminal code initiated by then-Governor Mitch Daniels. Judiciary Committee Chairman Greg Steuerwald says the overhaul has the support of prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges. He says the changes will make sentences more certain and more proportional.
Bloomington Representative Matt Pierce, the ranking democrat on the criminal code committee, says it’s been 36 years since the last rewrite of the criminal code, and it shows.
Now murder would retain its current status as a superfelony standing apart from the classification system, with its sentencing range unchanged. The proposed revision also gives judges discretion to suspend sentences for anything except murder or repeat serious offenders. Current law allows suspended sentences only for the two lowest classifications, with a handful of exceptions.