Daniels said he agrees violent offenders should be locked up. But said, when it comes to non violent offenders, there is a smarter way to handle them.
“We’ve got a lot of people who could be incarcerated closer to home at less expense,” he said. “A lot of them go in and out of our prison system at high cost to our taxpayers and they’re only there for a few months. As my guys say, they're here long enough to take their fingerprints, their DNA, and introduce them to some real criminals. And it's just not as smart as it could be.”
Thursday, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Mike Dvorak defended the changes to the bill. He said sentencing laws do need to be reformed. But they need to be reformed to keep violent offenders locked up even longer. He mentioned child molesters who, on average, are sentenced to prison for 41 years, but only end up serving seven and a half years in Indiana.
And Dvorak said the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council believes the prison population isn’t actually growing as fast as the state claims it is - because he said the state counted the number of people being sent to the federal prison in Terre Haute, which is funded by taxpayers across the country, not just in Indiana.
"What we need to do is rather than just accept bold political assertions, let’s look at the numbers behind them to see if there’s any credibility to them,” said Dvorak.
But Daniels defended the numbers during an interview with NewsRadio 960 WSBT.
“A very large committee led by democrats as well as republicans with the best scholars in the country did the work. We’ve been over the work and we don’t find any flaw in it,” Daniels said.
Indiana Dept. of Correction spokesperson Doug Garrison also said they stand by the numbers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.