Senior Fellow, Charles Koch Institute
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Vikrant P. Reddy | December 4, 2010
According to this article in Business Week, the Indiana Code has been amended 107 times in the past twenty years “to either add new crimes or lengthen the prison sentences of existing crimes.” For years, it seems that this was simply the norm in Indiana. In 1997 alone the legislature considered 30 bills to create new crimes and 13 bills to lengthen sentences. Eric Turner, a Republican representative from Marion, is mentioned in the Business Week article as saying that this was a result of “he and other lawmakers [having] reacted emotionally to crime.”
Indiana spends approximately one million dollars on every 100 inmates — and they have 29,000 adult inmates. According to the Evansville Courier & Press, “[t]he estimate is that between 2010 and 2017, the prison population will increase 21 percent, from 28,474 to 34,794,” and absorbing this population will cost approximately $1.2 billion. The costs are growing dramatically in Indiana, but if Rep. Turner is to be believed, it appears that the legislature is finally serious about keeping Indiana safe, but also finding a way to do it cost-effectively.