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Prosecutors Fire Back at Daniels Over Prison Reform

Hoosier prosecutors are firing back at Governor Daniels‘ threat to veto their bill requiring longer sentences for the most violent offenders.

In a house committee hearing stretching more than four hours, a parade of prosecutors and crime victims emotionally reminded legislators of the horrific crimes they've encountered, and defended prosecutors‘ push to ensure those offenders serve at least 85% of their sentences. Under Indiana law, inmates can cut their sentences in half with good behavior behind bars.

Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council Executive Director Stephen J. Johnson said the time served needs to reflect the seriousness of the crime.

“The judge, if he maxes someone out now, he will be in much less than have the time, no matter what he does no matter if he is the most serious, vicious repeat offender.”

Daniels and Chief Justice Randall Shepard had led a bipartisan call for a sentencing reform bill to stop spiraling prison costs by steering drug offenders and other nonviolent inmates away from prison and into alternative sentencing.

Daniels charges a "minority of prosecutors" hijacked the bill in the senate, attaching truth-in-sentencing language he said would cost the state more than $1 billion by 2018.

Prosecutors said attaching it to the sentencing-reform bill represents their best chance of winning a hearing and passage. The committee has put off a vote on the bill until next week.

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