STATEHOUSE- Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the internationally recognized Pew Research Center and the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center will conduct a study on Indiana's Correctional System.
The goal of the study is to maximize Indiana's public safety with the limited tax revenues available.
The Pew Research Center has already conducted similar studies on two other states and was able to save those states money by improving the efficiency and rehabilitation capabilities of their correctional systems.
"What GE is to light bulbs is what the Pew Research Center is to research," said Rep. Ralph M. Foley (R-Martinsville). "They are internationally known and do extraordinary work. I am pleased to be involved in this process to better Hoosier public safety."
In the past 24 years the prison population has grown from 7,500 offenders to about 29,000 offenders. In the past 20 years, state correction appropriations have grown from $142.2 million to $1.36 billion.
Rep. Ralph M. Foley is a member of Indiana's Criminal Law and Sentence Policy Study Committee. This committee will be heavily involved with the Pew Research Center and will use the study's conclusions to make recommendations to the legislature next year to improve the criminal justice policy. The committee will also review and revise Indiana's criminal code and sentencing policies for the first time since 1976.
"We intend to have legislation ready for the upcoming session based on Pew's findings and CSG's findings," said Rep. Foley.
Rep. Foley also acknowledged the leadership of State Senator Richard D. Bray in the project. "Sen. Bray was the inaugural chair and has inspired the legislative initiative," said Rep. Foley. "I am excited to serve with my Martinsville colleague on the committee."
"We are trying to get more bang for our buck with regards to the state's correctional system," continued Foley. "State penitentiaries cost money and with a growing inmate population, prison funding must go up too. We don't want to place a tax burden on Hoosiers but we also cannot compromise public safety from dangerous criminals. I look forward to being a part of this study and help the General Assembly improve our correctional system in the 2011 session."