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January 19, 2009

Indiana debating prison expansion plans proposed by Governor

Another interesting story in prison economy nation is reported in this AP article from Indiana, headlined "Daniels' proposed prison expansions draw doubts."  Here are a few details:

Faced with tight budgets and prison overcrowding, states across the nation are considering whether to release prisoners early.  But in Indiana, the Daniels administration is looking to add space to existing prisons to help keep the growing number of inmates behind bars.

The lean budget proposed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels includes just two new building projects over the next two years -- expansions of the Miami Correctional Facility near Peru and the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility near Sullivan.  Each would be expanded by 600 beds, and the state would make $3 million in bond payments to cover the $40 million in construction.

Daniels says public safety must be one of government's top priorities. "We are not going to turn felons out of prison early where they can prey on the public," Daniels said. "That's happening in other states, and we're not going to let it happen here."

Democrats who control the House have questioned whether the prison expansions are really necessary, especially since the proposed budget doesn't contain any new money for K-12 education and would make cuts in many state agencies and higher education.  Some say the state should be investing in education and alternative sentencing programs that could help people avoid prison in the first place. "It's the wrong emphasis," said Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary.  "We need to rethink what we're doing in this state."...

Indiana's prisons are currently at about 99 percent of capacity, according to department officials. The state's prison population of about 27,000 grows by about 4 percent a year, or about 1,000 inmates.  At lower-security prisons, some inmates are already sleeping in triple-stacked bunk beds to save space.... By 2010, the state will be about 2,000 beds short in prisons with higher security levels...

Indiana's growing prison population stems from several factors, [Department of Correction Commissioner Edwin] Buss said, such as crime rates and mandatory sentencing laws.  The increasing number of prisoners hasn't stopped lawmakers from considering proposals that would keep people behind bars even longer. In past legislative sessions, Republicans have proposed requiring inmates to serve 85 percent of their sentences, rather than potentially earning a day off for each day of good behavior.  Democrats questioned what the cost would be and how much more prison space would be needed, and the proposals didn't pass. "We continue to want to get tough on crime," said Rep. Dennis Avery, D-Evansville. "It costs money."

Daniels points out that Indiana is better financial shape than many other states, and has not had to turn to drastic measures such as releasing prisoners early.  Other states are considering early release or are already implementing such programs.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to eliminate parole for some offenders, divert more petty criminals to county jails and grant early release to more inmates. In Kentucky, even some murderers and other violent offenders are benefiting from a temporary cost-saving program that has granted early release to nearly 2,000 inmates. Virginia and New York are also considering early release programs for thousands of inmates.

January 19, 2009 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

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Comments

sounds like Daniels has his priorities in order. No one wants to see prisons filled up with people who can safely be let out of prison and who can contribute to society, but violent criminals need to be put away. In Indiana, with current good time credit, it's possible to have violent felons get out after too short of a stretch in prison. This results in unnecessary carnage.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 19, 2009 10:43:17 AM

Daniels has no clue about the prison population. I am an ex offender and now a full time student. You have women serving time for prostitution. Some are serving up to three years. This is costing tax payers twenty two thousand dollars a year to house such petty convictions. He needs to re-think the " no early release" check his demographics before he comes to his conclusion. I agree violent criminals and sex offenders should not be released early, but the over crowding of the system and not enough IDOC employees is another whole issue; they are not able to offer drug classes to the offenders who need them, because lack of staff and money. The pre-release program that helps you re-enter society is an absolute joke and waste of time. Basically this is not rehabilitation it is warehousing, and since he is not willing to spend any more money on the DOC he is just contributing to recetivisim and these people will be back. He needs to look at the big picture. He is clueless.

Posted by: Denise | Sep 22, 2009 10:35:48 PM

I FEEL LIKE INDIANA IS HARD ON PRISONERS.SOME SHOULD BE RELEASED AFTER DOING 2 TO 3 YEARS OF GOOD BEHAVIOR. AND DANIEL SHOULD CONSIDER EITHER WORK RELLEASE OR HOUSE ARREST.


HOLLE CARY
STUDENT

Posted by: HOLLY CARY | Oct 22, 2009 11:30:28 AM

I believe if someone is a first time drug offender mandatory drug rehab and closely monitoring, in jail they get no rehabilitation likely to get out return doin drugs, where rehab could help them stay away from drugs.if mess up after that jail time to be served

Posted by: Amy | Jan 21, 2010 1:24:40 AM

I think Gov. Mitch Daniels is crazy to propose expanding the prisons at a time that he is calling for drastic cuts in education.
Everyone who is sentenced to less than life in prison, is going to be released back into society at some point. Warehousing people is not preparing them to become law abiding, tax paying members of society. There are many alternatives to increasing the prison space (at a significant cost to taxpayers); for example, house arrest still keeps offenders off the street, but transfers the cost to the offender. The ankle tracking system insures that they do leave the house.
I know people think it is safer to keep someone locked up longer, but the truth is that the longer someone is in prison, the less likely they are to acclimate to life in the community, the less likely they are to be employable. This makes them more likely to break the law in the future, not less likely.
To want to cut teachers in our public schools so that they can afford to keep a prisoner in prison (as opposed to house arrest) for a few years longer is ridiculous.

Posted by: Molley | Feb 18, 2010 12:29:28 PM

Prisons in Indiana are filling with non-violent first-time offenders sentenced from stealing from a store to disorderly conduct and schedule 4 drug cases, and believe it or not: child support. Are these the people that can't be released because they are felons and they will prey on the public?? No Governor Daniels, that would be the murderers and sex offenders. They should be behind bars, but not the others. And if you believe in Mr. Brizzi, Marion County Prosecutor, all it takes is money to "get out of jail free" for murder for hire. He is a good example of justice gone wrong! In Indiana, the non-violent first-time offenders are filling the prisons like never before. It costs the state 34,000 per year for each of these prisoners to be behind bars for 1 year. How much of that could be put to education, roads, jobs, etc. The non-violent prisoners are being sentenced by the counties because they don't want the cost of the alternative punishment to come out of their county funds. So house arrest, probation, judges on a mission to show how tough they are: are just sending everyone to prison so the state can pay the cost. Then elected officials don't want to touch anything taboo like prisoners because they think that it is not good for reelection. So the state of Indiana asks for a year long study from Pre Research to look in to the problem of overcrowding in Indiana Prisons. There goes more of the taxpayers money and its not on education, jobs, etc. The public needs to become involved and contact the governors offie and your representatives to release the non-violent first time petty offenders. The system in this state is broken and it is time to fix it. Maybe we need to say no more reeclections, one term only. That way things get done, and the elected don't hide behind closed doors so they avoid controvery until after elections. I also want to add that people who are in prison for child support, petty theft, disorderly conduct should not be housed in the same cells as murderers! How is this rehabilitation?? Should we spend $34,000 for a petty theft offender which is as much as the murderer? We should be making these non-violent firt-time offenders useful to their communities by putting them to work in jobs like cleaning, yard work etc. We should take the ones behind on child support and make them work in county jobs and withhold back child support from their earnings. Instead we throw all of these people into one group and throw them away. It is wrong, it does not rehabilitate, it costs too much money, IT CAN NO LONGER BE A PROBLEM OF THE COURTS!! OUR COURTS HAVE FAILED!! IT MUST BE UP TO THE STATE!!!!!!

Posted by: Carolyn Stump mother | Apr 19, 2010 9:58:19 PM

My fiance has had some trouble in the past and he has 2 older children with his first wife and he rarely paid support because she had moved to FL. Which is still not an excuse. We got together in 2007. He began to look for a job and try his best to take care of his children. This past November he found full time 50 hr a week employment at Asplundh Tree Experts. Shortly after he started he began to pay 153 a week on his child support. Not to mention we have a daughter that is 1 and a half. He was tried for a class c felony for non support of a dependent in feb 2010 through Anderson IN. We figured we had nothing to worry about seeing how he has been paying and had a full time job and was seeing his children. We had his 2 older children this summer. He recieved a public defender because we were already struggling to make ends meet. We went for his sentencing Mon Aug 16th. We had a letter from his employer that stated he had full time employment and he is moving his way up the company latter and that he never missed worked and was never late. We also had a letter from myself stating that our daughter Emma would miss out on her Father and that I am a full time student and he watches the kids while im in school and he is a wonderful father. The court also read a statement from my fiances ex wife stating that she did not want him in prison because then she would recieve no support and that he also supported me and my children. The judge then stated well it looks like your gonna miss this christmas and sentenced him to 7yrs with 4yrs executed and serve 2 yrs and 1 yr work release. Which makes no sense because after he is out of prison he will not have a job to return to. The sentence to me defeats the entire purpose because it hurts the children. My daughter that waits for him at the picture window for him to get off work wont see her dad until she is almost ready to start school. We are in the process of buying a house and his boss is willing to hold his job for as long as he can so I am trying to do anything possible to get our story out there and possibly have the judge change his sentence to work release, house arrest anything to where he can continue to work and take care of his children and be a valuable member of society. I grew up without a father and i dont want our children to grow up with the same life if it is not necessary. I just do not feel that it is right when he could be on house arrest and still be punished yet still take care of his responsibilities. But now he is sitting in jail while our tax dollars are taking care of him and his older children. Now there i have daddys little girl and she wont be able to build a relationship with her daddy again for 3 more years. How is this justice.


Posted by: Danielle Leever | Aug 19, 2010 10:11:02 AM

Obviously our system isn't working very well. In the US between 70% to 80% of the incarcerated population is convicted of an alcohol or drug related crimes. Building more prisons doesn't doesn't treat the addicted or stop the flow of drugs into our country and states. We end up arresting the "petty dealers" while the drug lords go untouched. Then to top it off we make it nearly immpossible in our state for any one with a felony to find a job and forget renting an apartment. Then we wonder way people return to the streets.............It doesn't take a rocket scientist Mitch!

Posted by: Karen | Oct 13, 2010 11:22:10 PM

IT ALL ADDS UP TO GREED. MONEY, EVERY BODY WANTS MORE THAN THE OTHER GUY. IT WILL NEVER CHANGE IN AMERICA. LAWMAKERS ARE THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF JAG BAGS. THEY CAN ROB EVERYONE LEGALLY. THANKS LAWMAKERS FOR ME CHEERING ON THE BAD GUYS IN THE MOVIES.
P.S ROT IN HELL

Posted by: BEN MEEOVER | Nov 2, 2010 8:03:09 PM

I BELEIVE TO TELL MITCH DANIALS I WILL NOT BE VOTING FOR YOU AGAIN I FEEL LIKE HE DNT REALLY CARE ABOUT PEOPLE SAD IF IT WAS HIS SON OR DAUGHTER IN THE PRISON I FEEL LIKE NOBODY CARES ABOUT PEOPLE THEY SAY PEOPLE CANT CHANGE THATS A LIE BUT MR DANIALS YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY VOTE TY

Posted by: cathy | Apr 20, 2011 9:00:11 PM

I believe that violent and dangerous felons should for sure remain in jail... What I don't understand is why this state continues to lock people up for such petty crimes as driving while suspended... Now knowing that this is a crime however it does not cause problems, it's not violent. So why is it there are so monay people in prison for lengthly periods of time for driving without a piece of plastic...
Thats just one example of many that I can think of. I'm sure any of you can think of some as well.
My thoughts are that this state needs to focus on the people that are violently hurting others or burglarizing others etc.
As opposed to how many people they have incarcerated for things like maryjuana, driving while suspended, child support,(don't get me started on this though. There are so many people that go to jail for child support and maybe they can afford it and just don't pay it. But that doesn't stop them from wrecking the peoples lives and families who do everything they can just to survive on a daily basis.) What about taking their drivers licenses? DUH!!! Hello! how do you expect them to work a job that can afford their bills as well as their child support when you take away their transportation? Take a bus... Yeah you can do that. Provided a bus would take you to where you work. If not then what? You quit you job ( OR GET FIRED)Now you have a job making minimum wage on the buss route but now you can't even afford to pay rent to keep a roof over your head. But they sure will lock you up FOR YEARS over it... Doesn't matter if you can afford it or you truely can't you're still going to jail for a long time.
Things like this is what I don't understand.
They want to know what they should do...
They should quit locking good people up just because they think its what needs done. Focus on the real problems, real dead beat dads and not the dead broke ones, violent criminals, things that are a threat and not some kid that just likes to smoke a little pot once in a while. News Flash... IT'S NOT THAT BAD!!!

Posted by: MIchael | May 27, 2011 3:26:00 PM


Internet crimes should be reconsidered. I have a friend who is serving time with people who actually did horrendous crimes. He got eight years for talking/ people in there got 3 years for rape. When you have a corrupt county....does not matter what you did.

Posted by: Tammy | Jul 1, 2011 8:25:15 AM

I'm a mother of a non-violent offender for drug case. I have been trying to get a drug court started in my county for past 2 and half years, I do believe that Indiana should be releasing these prisoners who have had good behavior to stop prison overcrowding and instead rehabilitate them. They don't get rehab in prison and if they get it it's not until last couple years of sentence. Mitch Daniels needs to get this law past to bring these non-violent offenders home where they can get rehab, take care of their families, work and pay support for those who have to do this and give back to the community which in turn saves our state millions of dollars every year.

Posted by: Vickie Perkins | Jul 19, 2011 7:53:09 PM

I have a son in prison and his girl friend got caught with pills and i guess THE STATE DECIDED TO LET HER AND A INFFORMANT THAT WAS IN TROUBLE OUT TO GET MY SON DNT MAKE MUCH SENSE THAT A APPOINTTED ATTORNEY IS GAVE TO SOME ONE TO RAILROAD THEM MAYBE NOT ALL BUT EVEBODY I NEW THAT HAD THIS PERSON WAS RAILROADED SEEMS NOBODY WILL LISTEN ON THIS CASE THEY DID WHAT THEY WANTED GAVE MY SON 16 YEARS FOR THIS WOW IT DNT MAKE SENSE THAT A PERSON CAN GET LESS FOR MURDER WOW AND PEOPLE LIKE THIS SHOULD BE RELEASED ITS CRAZY THAT THEY LOCK PEOPLE UP FOR YEARS LIKE THIS AND MAKE THERE PARENTS LOOK LIKE THE PROBLEMS MY GOD I RAISED MY SON IN CHURCH IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN ITS NOT THE PARENTS FAULT I DNT UNDERSTAND THEY SAY THE STATES ARE RUNNING OUT OF MONEY GET THESE GUYS OUT TO WORK PAY TAXES GIVE SOME PEOPLE A CHANCE IN LIFE

Posted by: cathychanney | Aug 16, 2011 11:16:48 PM

PLEASE LET ALL NONE VIOLENT PRISONERS OUT PUT THEM BACK TO WORK IT WILL SAVE ALOT OF MONEY FOR TAXS DOLLARS

Posted by: cathychanney | Aug 16, 2011 11:19:58 PM

there are countys out there all they care about is money they could care less about anybody these people over in greene county do just what ever the hell they want its not justice no more its how they can make a deal with low life ci who does the same stuff but still on the streets getting younger kids on it so they will come back for more this man said this in a court trial i almost fell over but nothin was done to him at all he evens said he made thousands of dollars off these kids why didnt IRS come in on him its on court records and the funny thing about things people do nothin but lie on people and i no for a fact it happens and when you go to court you mize well be your own attorney cause if your appointed one they work for the judge wow this stuff amazes me i got a son whos doing time which most of the rest walked for turning on him but were doing the same things and its sad my son got more than a murderer and did not kill nobody so what is up with this nightmare and nobody will listen or talk to me

Posted by: cathy | Feb 15, 2012 11:26:21 AM

state of indiana needs to investagate these local prosucuter and attorneys and judges for wrongful sentenceing and i really dnt understand why people think prison is going to help there matter they need treatment programs mitch lets let them out

Posted by: cathy | Feb 15, 2012 11:31:31 AM

Addicts need rehab not prison. There is so much corruption in the jail and prison system by the managers and officiers. Inmates get knocked out, black eyes, and inadequte medical care. The inmates are afraid to tell for fear of retaliation. Some officers incite the inmate in order to send them straight to prsion., It is shameful...the ones locking up are no better than the ones locked up.

Posted by: cm | Jul 16, 2012 11:04:49 PM

Strange, movie stars do drugs and are not sent to prison. Common average people who are addicts get 5, 10, 20 yeras behind the bars. Who told you America was a land of equality. I wish I knew how to change things for the imprisoned addicts. They need help not inhumanity.

Posted by: cm | Jul 16, 2012 11:08:04 PM

The child support issue is no more than a witch hunt!

Posted by: Steve | Dec 10, 2012 11:31:41 PM

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