[r20] Dermody Bill to Increase Prison Trafficking Penalties Passes Committee Unanimously (2/13/2009)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Start Date: 2/13/2009 All Day
End Date: 2/13/2009
(STATEHOUSE) Feb. 12, 2009 - A bill authored by State Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) passed the Courts and Criminal Code Committee by a unanimous vote.  The bill increases the penalty for any individual caught trafficking a cellular communication device to an inmate from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony.

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison. A Class C felony is punishable by up to 8 years.

Under House Bill 1642, a person who knowingly or intentionally traffics a controlled substance, deadly weapon or cellular communication device with an inmate could be charged with a Class C felony.

In 2008, the Indiana Department of Corrections confiscated 1,191 cell phones being secretly delivered to inmates. Trafficking cell phones has become big business for the following reasons:

·         To continue operating organized crime while incarcerated.

·         To inform inmates of staff movement so illegal activities escape detection.

·         To further harm victims while still in prison.

·         To harm staff by organizing uprisings.

"We're protecting the safety of Hoosiers by preventing inmates from doing any more harm while in prison," said Rep. Dermody. "House Bill 1642 will not only help keep prisons safe but it will also cripple organized crime and protect victims from being furthered harmed."