Indiana Legislature passes bill that would require felons to serve 75 percent of sentence

Gov. Mike Pence to consider bill

INDIANAPOLIS - An overhaul of Indiana's criminal sentencing laws aimed at sending fewer nonviolent offenders to prison has been approved by the Indiana Legislature.

The Senate voted 34-15 on Friday in favor of the bill that the House approved Thursday.

Provisions of the bill would require most felons to serve at least 75 percent of their sentences.

Current law allows most inmates with good behavior in prison to be released after serving half their sentence time.

The overhaul includes many penalty changes for many property and drug offenses, directing many convicted of those crimes to work release and other local programs.

The changes won't take effect until July 2014 and supporters say they expect the Legislature will make adjustments next year.

The bill now goes to Gov. Mike Pence for consideration.

Some have questioned whether local officials will have enough money to hold inmates for longer periods of time.

Under the measure, the level of Indiana felonies would increase from four to six, and less serious offenses would be handled more by local authorities using community corrections facilities.

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