(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.) WANE – A group of Republican state senators wants to crack down on violent criminals with a series of bills.
One bill would make decapitating someone a crime eligible for the death penalty. Another would add 20 years to the sentence of anyone who points a gun at a police officer while they are committing another crime. A third bill would increase law enforcement funding by $200,000 to each of Indiana’s most populous counties: Marion, Allen, and Lake.
The violent crimes package comes as both Indianapolis and Fort Wayne in recent years saw their highest homicide rates on record.
“It’s hard to characterize what the legislature has done because on one hand they’re being much harder on dangerous criminals, but on another level they’re being much better for people in the past about cleaning up their record,” said Michael McAlexander, Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Allen County.
Indiana’s legal system is also trying to do a better job of dealing with the underlying causes of crime, including substance abuse. Instead of sending non-violent drug-addicted criminals to prison, more programs are focusing on treatment, education and job placement.
“In this community we have a drug court that deals with drug offenses. We have a re-entry court that deals with people coming out of prison, and we’ve got another court that specializing in substance abuse and mental health issues,” McAlexander said.
Identifying criminals who are dangerous from those who harm only themselves and sentencing them accordingly is Indiana’s goal.
Corrections to Indiana’s criminal code, which started in July 2014, will likely continue in coming legislative sessions.