Georgia has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the nation. Georgia taxpayers finance that system at the rate of $1 billion per year.
Tough on Crime
Many people — even people who are “tough on crime” — are wondering if spending that much money on prisons is wise, and if it is making Georgians any safer.
Other states, including “tough on crime” Texas, have re-examined what they were spending on prisons, and decided to opt for alternatives that not only cost less, but are more effective. These Texas measures have included new programs for probation and parole, halfway houses and special courts for drug offenders.
Many Atlanta criminal defense attorneys, and others, say that Georgia should copy Texas’ success with these savings.
How Georgia Compares
Georgia has the highest rate of correctional control in the nation: 1 in 13 is locked up, on probation, or on parole. Nationally, the average is 1 in 31.
The most expensive option is jail or prison, and 1 in 70 Georgians is behind bars.
Georgia law and policy are keeping offenders in prison longer than ever. The average sentence for drug possession, among inmates released last year, was 21 months. In 1990 the average was 10 months.
Alternatives for Drug Crimes
Legislators in Georgia are now considering alternatives for minor offenses like drug possession. Drug courts offer alternatives to prison.
Many people who work in the criminal justice system are saying it is time to study policies and see if they are effective in achieving their original goal: making people safer.
Contact a Talented Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with federal drug possession is a serious matter. If you find yourself in such a situation, having a skilled attorney on your side can make all the difference. Do not hesitate to contact the legal counsel at the Federal Criminal Law Center in Georgia today. By either filling out an online form or calling the firm at 404.633.3797.
- Source: Atlanta Journal and Constitution “Is Price Too High For Punishment?” 5/23/2010