Gov. Mike Pence Makes Certain Indiana Stays Stupid on Crime

Gov. Mike Pence Makes Certain Indiana Stays Stupid on Crime


You can show a politician all the data and evidence that a policy isn’t working you want, but if in the end that policy gets that politician elected they will blindly continue it.

That mandatory minimums sentencing wastes tax money and does nothing to reduce crime was lost on the Indiana’s Republican Governor and state legislature today. Being able to market yourself that you’re “tough on crime” is too vital a poll benefit to pass up.

Gov. Mike Pence toughened sentences for drug dealers Monday, signing legislation that would mandate repeat offenders serve at least 10 years if their crime involves methamphetamine or heroin.

This week Indiana’s Gov. Pence signed a bill that imposes a mandatory minimums for

“Drug abuse problems are not unique to our state, but I’m determined to meet this challenge head-on here in Indiana. To start, I believe that any strategy to address drug abuse must start with enforcement. We need to make it clear that Indiana will not tolerate the actions of criminals, and I’m pleased to sign into law HEA 1235 to increase penalties on drug dealers.”

“The bill prohibits a judge from suspending the sentence if the offender has been convicted of a Level 2 controlled substance felony that involves meth or heroin and has a prior conviction for dealing. These felons will now have to serve a minimum of 10 years in state prison,” wrote the Marilyn Odendahl in

The Indiana State Bar Association and the Indiana Public Defender Council spoke out against the new mandatory minimum law and argued what many justice reform experts have been saying for years: That the emphasis should be on treatment and that judges should have the freedom to impose the sentences that fit the individual crime.

But what we’ve seen in the past is that politicians such as Gov. Pence ignore all the stats that verify that mandatory sentencing does not reduce crime. And there you have it.  The war on drugs continues.

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke