Sentencing

The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard HB 1202 sponsored by Sen. Bohacek regarding sentencing.  The bill provides that the Department of Correction shall identify an inmate to the parole board and provide the parole board with the inmate’s offender progress report as soon as practicable after the inmate has been confined to the custody of the department for 15 consecutive years (including educational credit).  The bill provides that upon recommendation by the warden, the parole board may consider certain factors and discharge an inmate and require that the inmate receive post-incarceration reentry services if the sentence an inmate has served, including credit time earned or accrued, for an offense committed before July 1, 2014, is at least 75% of the current advisory sentence for the offense on the date the inmate files for a petition for discharge. The bill also provides that if an inmate has served a sentence for an offense committed before July 1, 2014, that meets or exceeds 75% of the maximum sentence for the same offense that the inmate is currently seeking relief for, the parole board may discharge and release the inmate from the inmate’s entire sentence.

The bill was amended by consent to provide that the Department of Correction shall, at least annually, review the inmate population and recommend either no change in the inmate’s sentence or a modification of the inmate’s sentence.  Thereafter, an inmate who is not a violent offender whose sentence is recommended for modification by the Department may seek a petition for modification in the sentencing court.  However, if the inmate was sentenced under the terms of a fixed term plea agreement, the court may not, without the consent of the prosecuting attorney, “reduce or suspend the sentence and impose a sentence not authorized by the plea agreement.”

The State Public Defender, Indiana Department of Correction, Americans for Prosperity Indiana, Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Catholic Conference, retired Judge Teresa Harper, a criminal defense lawyer, Indianapolis Jewish Council, and the Indiana Public Defender Council testified in support of the bill as written.  The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council testified in opposition.  The amended bill passed 5-3.

Read the bill at:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/house/1202