Indiana criminal code overhaul: A victory for local families

It's the largest overhaul to Indiana's criminal code since 1977, and it's sitting on Governor Pence's desk awaiting his signature.
Two local families have been pushing for this change since the murders of their loved ones.
Trina Winston and Matt and Lisa Clippinger were all killed last year by men who'd been previously convicted of murder but were released early.
It’s an overhaul of Indiana's criminal sentencing laws aimed at sending fewer nonviolent offenders to prison has been approved by the Legislature.

The Senate voted 34-15 on Friday in favor of the bill that the House approved Thursday.

Provisions of the bill would require most felons to serve at least 75 percent of their sentences. Current law allows most inmates with good behavior in prison to be released after serving half their sentence time.

“No one should have to live in fear. If they are letting them out they are saying it is ok, they are telling our kids its ok. You can kill someone and you can get back out. We will give you the 120 years, but you can go in here and do good time credit and be released,” says Trina’s sister, Traci Winston.

“I was saying to my husband that if this law was just enacted when most of the country went to it back in the 70s, all Trina, Matt and Lisa would still be alive because their murderers would still be in jail,” says Matt’s sister-in-law, Chris Clippinger.

The overhaul includes many penalty changes for many property and drug offenses, directing many convicted of those crimes to work release and other local programs. The changes won't take effect until July 2014 and supporters say they expect the Legislature will make adjustments next year.

The bill now goes to Gov. Mike Pence for consideration.
“It’s a small step, its, at least we know that we are saving someone else’s life by not letting him out like that again,” says Trina’s sister, Cecelia Winston

“I promised Matt and Lisa at their funeral that I was going to make sure there were changes,” added Chris.

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