No savings seen yet in state prisoner shift

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The Journal Gazette on May 13, 2016 by Niki Kelly

DOC says too soon to tell; plan is to have fewer prison inmates

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Correction is enjoying a steady drop in the number of adult offenders at the same time local jails are seeing an increase.

The shift is part of a plan by lawmakers to revise the sentencing system and divert low-level offenders out of prison and into local jails or programs.

But the state apparently isn’t saving any money – cash that was supposed to be passed on to help local units of government with increased costs.

“Not enough time has passed to be able to determine what cost-savings have been achieved at this time,” DOC Chief Communications Officer Doug Garrison said. “We will carefully monitor this as the months go on and try to gauge what, if any, savings can be realized after this law has had time to go into effect.”

Monthly snapshot reports on the DOC population show since Jan. 1 the adult population has dropped by 617, or 2.3 percent. Since July 1, 2015, the DOC population has dropped by more than 1,100 or 4 percent.