Call Today for Free Consultation 260.833.7249
Unwavering Commitment to Protecting Your Rights Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Firm

More on Prison Overcrowding - Is Huntington County to blame?

Updating this entry from July 18, 2011, the Kokomo Tribune is running a three-part series on the effect of low-level felony convictions leading to prison over-crowding. Of particular interest to residents of Northeastern Indiana is a comparison between Huntington and Martin counties. Both counties feature small towns, safe streets and have some of the lowest crime rates in the State. However, the sentences for felony crimes in these counties couldn't be further apart.

In Martin County, the odds of going to prison for committing some of the most common low-level felony crimes (such as, Theft, Drug Possession, Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI), or Driving as an Habitual Traffic Violator) are almost zero. However, Huntington County is on the other end of the scale. According to numbers released by the Indiana Department of Corrections, the chances of serving a prison sentence for low-level felony convictions is higher in Huntington County than in any other county in the State.

Perhaps Huntington County should take a closer look at the overall costs of sentences and consider using sentencing alternatives, such as work release or community corrections home detention programs. Indiana prison populations increased 41% between 2000 and 2009. This has resulted in an increase of $120 in in state prison costs. The 2010 Pew Center on States had a report on Indiana's prison overcrowding problem. This study concluded that the fastest way to relieve the Indiana's prision population problem was to send low-level offenders back to their home counties for supervision in community-based programs.

Gregory A. Miller is a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer, and can be reached at 260-833-7249.