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Deal to sign overhaul of criminal justice system | Crime

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Deal to sign overhaul of criminal justice system
Crime, News
Deal to sign overhaul of criminal justice system

ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal is set to sign legislation that will bring sweeping changes to the state's criminal justice system, a priority he set earl in his administration.

Lawmakers spent months hammering out the proposal, which passed in the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Some changes will start as early as July 1.

"With this bold new direction in criminal justice, we will bolster public safety, increase our chances of rehabilitating lives and bend the unsustainable cost curve we face in our prison system," Deal said in a statement. "We spend $1.2 billion a year on our prison system and those costs were set to soar far beyond what we can afford. That makes no sense for taxpayers when there are most cost-effective means that have better outcomes."

Sentencing reform is a large component of the bill, which also sets up alternative courts to address substance abuse and mental health issues. The measure also shifts the approach to drug possession prosecutions to a weight-based system that supporters say will more fairly punish violators.

The bill also addresses mandatory reporting requirements for suspected child abuse, provisions for restrictions on who can access a jobseeker's criminal record and a shortened period for suspects held in probation detention centers.

Crime, News