March 02, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Juvenile justice system under review in Georgia
Article provided by The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Williams, LLC
Visit us at http://www.georgialegalresource.com
Georgia, like many other states, has experienced some financial difficulties during the recent recession. Finding ways to save money has become a top priority for government officials. Often, this leads to a comprehensive review of some of the programs currently in place, to see if they can be modified to improve efficiency. If changes do not jeopardize the health and safety of residents, they will be put into practice.
One area that receives a considerable amount of attention from legislators is the criminal justice system. Costs of incarcerating inmates continue to increase, and prisons are already overcrowded. Certain nonviolent offenders, such as those convicted of drug crimes, are sentenced to lengthy prison sentences, which can make it difficult to keep the most dangerous individuals behind bars.
Last year, Georgia made drastic changes to the way it handles adult offenders. Nonviolent offenders were able to participate in community-based programs instead of receiving prison sentences. Officials say that these changes will save the state nearly $250 million during the next five years.
A proposal to change the juvenile justice system stalled, but there has been a renewed emphasis on making improvements to the procedures currently being used for juvenile offenders. Many juveniles who are convicted of certain crimes are sentenced to detention centers, and reoffend once released. Legislators want to focus on reducing these repeat offenders, and are considering methods that would help teens learn from their mistakes.
A special council reviewed Georgia's juvenile justice procedures, and found that nearly 38 percent of juvenile offenders in detention centers committed a nonviolent offense. Since it costs upwards of $90,000 a year to house these inmates, the council felt that much of that money could be spent better, and the offenders could be placed into group homes or community programs.
The proposal would also make a list of certain crimes, and connect potential punishments to those crimes. Those in the violent crimes category would receive detention center sentences, but those on the nonviolent list would allow the judges discretion in imposing a sentence.
Those convicted of a juvenile offense in Georgia face severe consequences. The convictions will appear on their records, which could mean additional punishments if convicted of later crimes. If the offense was serious, it could even result in the juvenile being charged as an adult.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, it is important to take the matter seriously. Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand the options that are available. This is especially crucial for juveniles facing charges, because there may be avenues available to help reduce the potential consequences. Working with someone who understands this process can allow you to make the best decisions for your future.---
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