Prosecutors in need of tools to protect communities from violent drug dealing

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

There are those who wreak havoc on our communities through the violence of drug trafficking and drug dealing. Under current Indiana law, a convicted heroin dealer could get as little as a one-year sentence (minimum on a Level 5), and all of that time could be spent on probation and not in a prison.

In my experience, leniency of current Indiana penalties often results in violent drug dealers being charged again and again with little or no punishment. This brings me to ask our Indiana legislators how many times should a person be convicted of the same crime before they are held accountable and an unsuspecting public is protected from their violence?

The Indiana Legislature is in session now, and prosecutors like me are asking legislators to give us tools to better protect the public from the violence of drug trafficking. We have asked that legislators increase penalties for repeat dealers who sell drugs under heinous circumstances, such as in the presence of children, or in possession of a gun, or when their drug dealing results in the death of another person.

We prosecutors believe that Indiana's drug dealing penalties for the worst offenders are too low to protect citizens. Current laws do not give prosecutors the teeth to put drug dealers in jail for a long period of time. Simply put -- the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

Drug abuse is driving crime in Indiana, and the ones hurt most are children. Just as frightening, Indiana is No. 1 in the nation in pharmacy robberies.

The ripple effect of violent drug dealing is virtually endless. We are asking the Indiana Legislature to give prosecutors the legal tools to protect victims and families from the scourge of drug dealing.

If you agree, please ask your legislators to stand with your prosecutor on this important issue.