Plan to Overhaul Indiana Sentencing Laws Advances

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Lawmakers have reached agreement on a major overhaul of Indiana’s criminal sentencing laws aimed at directing more non-violent, low-level felons to work release and other local programs rather than sending them to prison.
  The House voted 86-10 Thursday in favor of a compromise version reached with Senate negotiators. A Senate vote hasn’t yet been scheduled.
  The overhaul wouldn’t take effect until July 2014 and supporters say they expect the Legislature will consider changes on specific crimes next year.
  Bill sponsor Rep. Greg Steuerwald of Danville says concerns about increased costs that counties could face under the overhaul will be reviewed by a legislative committee before next year’s session.
  Provisions of the bill would require those convicted of the most serious crimes to spend more time in prison.