The State of Indiana is grappling with a prison problem – overcrowding. The statistics bear out that because of a lack of attention to an aging criminal code and sentencing guidelines, little has changed to bring alternatives to bear in communities state-wide.
The result is a system that is too rigid in sentencing guidelines which stacks the states’ prisons with those who really would be better off out of those institutions.
Most other states have recognized the enormous cost that is associated with incarcerating convicts on a wholesale basis. These states have begun to implement better, and more focused options to alleviate the problem.
But, it isn’t as easy as it might appear. There is the need to apply fair sentencing to cases while maintaining safety and security of the public at large.
Both of those goals can be met if a comprehensive plan is adopted which will help solve the overcrowding problem. This is a program that has three basic areas of focus.
This part of the program does not mean that the public has to put up with more convicts who are on house arrest. This means prevention first and foremost and then an intelligent application of sentencing which might be slanted towards more community based sentencing options.
Citizens everywhere need to take the blinders off of their eyes and realize that crime hurts every one, and that it needs to be stopped before it starts. Doing things like paying attention to locked doors, secured personal property will help. But, so do mentoring programs that help young people stay off of the streets and involved in activities that encourage them to grow up as responsible adults. It’s a total program that must not be ignored.
Improved Probation System
Probation is more important than ever because it provides an alternative to incarceration. And, when a convicted person is allowed to remain outside of jail and still serve their time, the chances of them being a repeat offender are much lower. This is important because they are allowed to remain productive citizens of society. They can provide for themselves and their families by being able to work while serving their sentence.
Use of Technology
GPS Tracking has been around for a long time in the judicial system. But, what is happening now, is that there are so many more sentences being handed down in the form of active prisoner monitoring in other states, that the task is getting too big for existing departments to handle. The sheer numbers are overwhelming some systems in other states.
Smart guidelines need to be used to fix this problem: first, a statewide monitoring system needs to be implemented. Next, probation and parole officers need to be more involved in the monitoring system. Next, the guidelines for issuing a monitoring device need to be challenged so that only those who will really benefit from it can get it.
This problem in Indiana will eventually go away because there are very competent people running the government and making the decisions. If any state can do it, Indiana can.