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Some Lawmakers Skeptical On Raising Drug Dealing Penalties

Indiana prosecutors, Governor Mike Pence and House Speaker Brian Bosma are all backing the concept of legislation in the upcoming session to increase criminal penalties for drug dealers.

However, some of the architects of the state’s criminal code reform are more skeptical of the idea:

The Indiana criminal code overhaul was designed in large part to drive low level, nonviolent drug offenders away from prison and into rehabilitation.

But groups like the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Association say the penalties for drug dealers are too low.

They want dealers in prison…and don’t want to allow judges to give them probation.

But Bloomington Democratic Representative Matt Pierce says defining “drug dealers” is an issue because many, he says, are drug users themselves:

“And you just put yourself right in the same old brain dead approach to the criminal code if you just decide that mandatory minimums and cranking up sentences and putting people behind bars for longer time is going to do it," said Pierce.

Indianapolis Republican Senator Mike Young says the state doesn’t have enough data on the criminal code reform’s effectiveness:

“We’re not going to willy-nilly, after five years of work, just start changing laws.  We’re going to look at it and if it’s not high enough, we’ll make a change – but not right now," said Young.

The criminal code reform took effect less than a year and a half ago.

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