Photo: Michael Coglan (flickr)
The state needs to direct an additional $10.5 million a year to local programs to pay for the overhaul of Indiana’s criminal code.
That estimate, given by American Institutes for Research analyst Roger Jarjoura, would include funding to improve local rehabilitation and probation services.
Indiana’s criminal code reform is meant, in part, to move low-level offenders away from prison to local community corrections programs. That shift is aimed at helping reduce recidivism by focusing more on rehabilitation. But the great unknown for months has been how much the state will need to increase funding at the local level to accommodate the shift.
Lawmakers went to an outside research firm for an answer.
“We’re adding to their capacity and in every community, it’s going to look a little bit different,” Jarjoura says. “For some, it’s going to be about bringing new programs in; for some it’s going to be adding to their probation staff.”
Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, says he was surprised that number wasn’t higher, and Jarjoura admits his estimate is conservative. But Pierce says even if programs do need more money in the long term, it’s important to get the ball rolling now.
“I’m convinced that, as the programs get in place, there’s going to be really tremendous success with them and we’re going to see a lot less recidivism – meaning a lot less people coming back into the criminal justice system, which is going to save us lots of money,” he says.
Jarjoura says a study conducted in Marion County showed that every one percent drop in recidivism equaled a $1.5 million savings.