Governor Mike Pence helps revamp Indiana’s criminal justice system

Governor Mike Pence for Indiana has signed bills to revise the state's felony sentencing laws. The new laws will provide some former offenders with the ability to expunge their criminal records. Pence feels that while law enforcement should be tough on crime, once former offenders have successfully completed their sentencing time, they should get a second chance.

House Bill 1006

House Bill 1006 is the new sentencing legislation, which has developed over three years by judges, lawmakers, prosecutors and others. According to sources, the changes make the bill the first overhaul of Indiana's criminal code since the 1970s.

Specifically, the changes will transform Indiana's four felony classes to one that has six felony levels. Moreover, the law requires offenders to serve 75 percent of their sentences instead of the half, which is currently required. Also, some drug offenses will have lighter sentences; however, they will still be harsher than the original legislation.

The law will strengthen the penalties for what are now B and C felonies, computer-based crimes, hazing and sex crimes. Pence had concerns about an earlier version of the bill, which he felt was too lenient on offenders convicted of drug crimes. However, lawmakers made revisions, which were ultimately accepted by Pence. In the end, he feels that the legislative changes will reform and strengthen Indiana's criminal code by focusing on the most egregious offenses.

House Bill 1482

While the laws will strengthen elements of the code, it will also provide some clemency to former offenders that cooperated with the law. Those previously convicted of crimes will have the opportunity to have their records wiped clean, providing they complete a specified period of time without new offenses. The bill has different standards for different crimes.

This bill will strengthen former offenders' opportunities for employment. Businesses will no longer be able to ask applicants if they have been convicted of felonies. Instead, employers have to ask if the applicant has been convicted of felonies that have not been expunged.

Ultimately, the new bills will not only toughen crime, but also alleviate difficulties for former offenders who aim to be productive members of society. It will provide hope for those who want another chance at being a lawful, active citizens.

If you have been accused or convicted of a crime, this law will undoubtedly affect your rights. To learn more about the legislative changes in relation to your matter, you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney in your area.