Report: Sentencing overhaul hasn’t meant big Indiana savings

Jail Cell
(WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A report to Indiana lawmakers shows that the state hasn’t seen significant savings from an overhaul of criminal sentencing laws aimed at sending fewer people convicted of nonviolent crimes to prison.

The report presented to a legislative committee Tuesday shows the average monthly number of new state prison inmates declined from 647 in 2014 to 123 last year.

But Chris Johnston of KSM Consulting told lawmakers most of those offenders are ending up in county jails, rather than community corrections and probation programs. The KSM study found the state’s $11 million estimated annual prison savings are largely consumed by the nearly $9.5 million it pays to counties holding low-level felons in jail.

Republican Sen. Mike Young of Indianapolis says 2014 overhaul’s intent wasn’t to shift those offenders to jails.