Vigo County Jail should start to see Relief as Level 6 Felony Convictions go back to State Prison.

The New Indiana Law that applies to anyone convicted of a level 6 felony after June 30th may help ease the burden on the Vigo County Jail.

House Enrolled Act 1004 will allow Judges to sentence those convicted of the lowest level felony to State Prison to serve out their sentence.

This will undue the 2014 bill keeping low level felony offenders in the county jail.

The idea behind the 2014 law was that if Judges couldn’t send level 6 felons to prison they would be encouraged to work with county prosecutors to reduce charges to misdemeanors when applicable, or work with drug treatment and community correction programs to find better alternatives.

Of course, this failed. And failed miserably.

Diversion programs were never implemented in a meaningful manner to reduced the number of people convicted of level 6 felonies. Further complicating things, Judges and prosecutors did not want to be viewed as the one that let someone “out of jail” if they later committed a more serious crime.

Spending millions of dollars on diversion programs would be left to the county budget, and Vigo County just didn’t have the extra money to do this.

Now, with a new $60 Million dollar jail and the ability to offload felons back to the IDOC, a bit of a buffer should allow the wheels of Justice to turn freely again.

The lingering problem will be moving these cases through the notoriously slow and inefficient Vigo County Justice system.

Examples of Level 6 felonies include:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Possession of methamphetamine
  • Dealing in a controlled substance (not marijuana, hash oil, hashish, or salvia divinorum)
  • Theft
  • Forgery
  • Counterfeiting
  • Fraud
  • Sexual battery
  • Auto theft
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Strangulation

The sentence for a level 6 felony is six months to 2 1/2 years.

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