The conservative approach to criminal justice:
fighting crime, supporting victims, and protecting taxpayers.

a project of the texas public policy foundation, in partnership with the AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION FOUNDATION and JUSTICE FELLOWSHIP


In early 2010, Governor Mitch Daniels, Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard, Attorney General Gregory Zoeller, House Speaker Patrick Bauer, and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long asked outside researchers to study ways to lower the cost and increase the performance of their corrections system.i

Indiana’s prison population increased 47% between FY 2000 and FY 2010, from 19,309 to 28,389.ii Corrections costs have grown 76 percent in the last decade.iii

If existing policies remain unchanged, the prison population is projected to continue to grow, and the state will need to expand prison capacity at a significant cost to taxpayers. Between 2010 and 2017, the Indiana Department of Corrections projects that the prison population will increase 21%, from 28,474 to 34,794.iv Increasing the capacity of the prison system to absorb the additional people incarcerated is estimated to cost the state approximately $1.2 billion between 2010 and 2017, which includes construction costs and annual operating costs.v

To guide the analysis of the state’s criminal justice system and the development of policy options, Indiana has established a Justice Reinvestment Steering Committee. This bipartisan group includes the designees of the governor, chief justice, and House and Senate leadership.

In November 2010, Governor Daniels cited reforming sentencing laws to be more cost-effective as one of his key priorities for the upcoming legislative

i Dan Carden, Northwest Indiana Times, “Daniels unveils wide-ranging agenda,” 5 Nov. 2010.

ii Ibid.

iii Ibid.

iv Ibid.

v Bill Ruthhar, “State review of criminal code aims to reduce recidivism,” Indiana Star, 29 June 2010.

vi Indiana Justice Reinvestment Profile, Council of State Governments Justice Center.