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STATEWIDE — The Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union wants to lower the number of people in prison. 

According to a new report from the ACLU, Indiana’s imprisonment rate grew 18 percent between 2000 and 2016. In that same time, the national rate dropped eight percent. 

“We all want to feel secure in our homes, and on the job, and in the streets,” says Jane Henegar, the Executive Director for ACLU of Indiana. “But the system we have now is not serving that purpose.”

Henegar knows the “bad guys” need to stay in prison, but she believes some laws need to change.

“The laws governing drug offenses have increased the amount of time required to be spent for a drug offense,” she says. “That’s a big driver for mass incarceration.”

Henegar also adds the number of Hoosiers in prison is disproportionate racially. 

“Nine percent of Indiana’s population is African American, but 34 percent of our prison population is African American,” Henegar says. “1 in 25 African American males in Indiana is incarcerated, and that’s just unacceptable.”

The ACLU of Indiana says they have released a “blueprint” on how the state can cut the number of people in prison in half. They would not say specifics of their plans, but their intent is to influence lawmakers to change policies.

(Photo by: Sakhorn/Thinkstock)