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Local Groups Need $10.5 Million For Criminal Code Overhaul

An analyst informed a legislative committee today that the state would need to allocate $10.5 million to enhance rehabilitation and probation services.

prison fence

Photo: Michael Coglan (flickr)

The criminal code overhaul aims to reduce Indiana's prison population, among other goals.

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.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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