Counties worry about cost of criminal code changes

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Some county officials are concerned about the financial burdens that sweeping changes in Indiana's criminal code will cause by sending more low-level, nonviolent offenders to local community corrections programs and jails instead of to state prisons.

The new guidelines that went into effect Tuesday establish six felony ranges for sentencing instead of four. The new guidelines also decrease minimum sentences for many crimes but also call for the most serious felons to serve 75 percent of their sentences instead of 50 percent.

The law allows for $11 million in grants to community corrections and probation departments if the Department of Correction saves money because of the changes. But if there are no savings, there will be no grants.

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