Pence’s $51M prison expansion proposal met by skepticism

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal from Gov. Mike Pence to spend $51 million on expanding two Indiana prisons is facing skepticism among state lawmakers.

Some leading legislators say the expansion plan is coming too soon after changes to the state’s criminal sentencing laws took effect last summer. That overhaul was aimed, in part, at directing more lower-level offenders to local programs instead of prison.

The Department of Correction says it still expects a growing number of maximum-security inmates. That’s why it wants to expand the Miami Correctional Facility near Peru and the Wabash Valley prison near Sullivan.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma says increasing community corrections funding by $50 million a year is a top legislative priority. He doesn’t expect the Legislature will approve both that funding and money for prison construction.

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