One in 13 Georgians is under correctional supervision. Whether they are behind bars or on probation, that’s the largest number in the country; the national average is 1 in 31. The tough on crime tradition is now costing state taxpayers $1 Billion per year and many are questioning its effectiveness.
The entire nation moved to “tough on crime” policies over the last twenty years. And now, as budgets are tightened, the pendulum is beginning to swing in favor or rehabilitation and treatment once again. Will Georgia follow suit, however?
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, even Texas has realized they can keep their residents safe by sentencing some criminal offenders to community based programs outside of prison walls. Balancing punishment, cost, and public safety is the key here.
When officials are asked to cut a corrections budget, they often look to cut staff first. Overworked prison and probation officers don’t keep the population safe, however, and looking to other potential areas for cuts is necessary.
According to the AJC report, while some states shave time off of sentences for parole, good time, and similar actions, Georgia is far less likely to do so—keeping up the tough on crime stance throughout. The “earned time” policy was eliminated in 1984 and criminal sentences have been getting lengthier since.
The potential of doing prison time is a reality for many Georgians. Because prison time is often prescribed for non violent offenses in this state, it is a real possibility even when you are facing charges that could be considered relatively “minor”.
For instance, possession of only 2 ounces of marijuana is considered a felony charge. For this class of felony, you could be sentenced to 1-10 years. While a 10 year sentence isn’t likely, prison time for marijuana possession seems to be a harsh deal.
Whether you are facing possession charges or something more serious like trafficking, we can help you. Together we can discuss the details of your case and what can be done to get a more favorable outcome in court.