TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — New laws have now been set in place across the Hoosier state that local and state officials believe will directly impact criminal justice.
Many of the bills signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in the last legislative session became law on July 1. Some of these new laws focus on criminal justice, including sentencing and the creation of high tech crime units across Indiana.
“There’s just huge amount of data that has to be reviewed on every case,” Terry Modesitt, prosecuting attorney for Vigo County, said. “We’ve partnered with Indiana State University already where we have some students there that we’re actually swearing in as part of our office and they’re going to be analyzing data.”
Modesitt said his office plans to apply to be one of the ten high tech crime units across the state. This would allow them to receive additional funding.
As catalytic converter thefts rose in the area over the last few months, it has also become a statewide issue which prompted the state to act and establish stricter penalties for that crime.
“In my opinion, when the legislature passed some of these new laws they were trying to deal with things they knew were issues or problems,” Modesitt said. “Like for instance the catalytic converters. There’s a problem right now with a lot of them getting stolen off cars so they enhanced that crime now form being a misdemeanor to a felony.”
Other laws taking effect now involve not only tougher punishment for catalytic converter thefts but also consider sentencing for some drug offenses. Indiana State Senator Jon Ford said more funding has been allocated for rehabilitation as well.
“We believe in strong punishment and really try to get that fear back into people not to break the law and there are consequences to actions,” Senator Ford said. “At the same time we’re also putting money into mental health and into drug addiction in our jails and in our prisons.”
Laws affecting more than the state criminal justice system went into effect this week.
“We really listened to what our communities wanted and I think we came through with some great pieces of legislation from more funding for education to some things to help with drinking water,” Ford said. “A wide ranging list of quality bills.”