Criminal code reform passed in 2014 is only one factor contributing to the exploding jail populations.
Critics argue the legislature is “backsliding” to previous, failed attempts to address the drug epidemic.
Incoming Attorney General Curtis Hill says the state shouldn’t abandon what he calls “strict enforcement” when it comes to addressing the drug epidemic.
The law runs counter to the state’s criminal code reform which aimed to give judges more flexibility to suspend sentences, particularly of drug offenders.
Some of the architects of the state’s criminal code reform are more skeptical of the idea of raising penalties for drug dealers in Indiana.
A fight over funding may be looming at the General Assembly between local community corrections programs and the state Department of Correction.
When the criminal code bill came to the Senate floor, only the worst offenses, murder and level one felonies, were ineligible for suspended sentences.
Governor Mike Pence’s main issue with the bill is its reduction of penalties for low-level drug offenders.