Rep. Steuerwald’s Criminal Code passes Senate
STATEHOUSE—State Representative Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) authored House Bill (HB) 1006 which deals with a comprehensive overhaul to the Indiana Criminal Code. The bill passed out of the Senate with a vote of 45-2 yesterday.
HB 1006 was co-authored by State Representative Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) and is part of an initiative to increase proportionality and certainty in sentencing as well as uniformity in the criminal code. HB 1006 makes a variety of technical changes and updates to the court sentencing process.
“The number one goal since day one of this process has been to make Indiana a safer state and a safer place for Hoosiers and their families. In looking at all the changes and trying to comprehend the benefits of this reform, we worked to draw the line between offenders we were mad at and offenders the public was threatened by. From there, the sentences more accurately fit the crimes committed and a better balance between punitive and rehabilitative justice has been instilled,” said Rep. Steuerwald.
HB 1006 was the result of work put in by the Criminal Code Evaluation Committee (CCEC), a sentencing policy study committee that has been researching and reviewing this issue since 2009. In addition to changes of the wording to make the Indiana Criminal Code more understandable and predictable, HB 1006 changes felony classification from a four-tier system (Classes A-D) to a six-tier system (Levels 1-6).
“This criminal code rewrite was long overdue. The penalties were not only outdated, but they were also imbalanced,” said Rep. Steuerwald. “I am impressed with all of those who made contributions to this process – Indiana is very lucky to have such forward thinking people in this state that are actively engaged in the process.”
HB1006 enhances penalties for certain controlled substance offenses if a person commits an offense within 500 feet of school property or a public park when a child is likely to be present or in the presence of a child who is under 18. The bill also states that a person cannot be charged with an intent to deliver unless two of the following conditions apply to the situation: the drugs are packaged for resale, the person possesses a scale, the person has at least $500 on them in cash at the time of the arrest or the person possesses commonly used adulterants to cut drugs for resale.
The rewrite also reduces the sentence from a level five to a level six felony for arson with intent to defraud, institutional criminal mischief, an offense against intellectual property and auto theft.
“By passing this bill, the Indiana General Assembly is bringing greater certainty to sentencing for Hoosiers, keeping them safe from the most violent criminals and saving the state money in the long term,” said Rep. Steuerwald. “Modernizing the criminal code has been a top priority of mine for many years, and I am humbled that HB 1006 has now passed out of both the House and Senate.”
In addition to sentencing restructuring, the bill also has the Department of Corrections (DOC) estimate the amount of operational cost savings before March 15, 2015, due to reductions in the number of individuals who are incarcerated. Should there be savings, the DOC may, with the approval of the Budget Agency, make additional grants to counties for their community corrections programs and transfer funds to the Judicial Conference of Indiana to provide additional financial aid to court probation services.
The bill has now passed the House and Senate.