State Supreme Court Chief Justice says prisons overcrowded -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State Supreme Court Chief Justice says prisons overcrowded

June 30, 2004

Albany -- The Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court says mandatory sentencing laws have caused the state's prison population to grow out of control.

Chief Justice Norman Fletcher says Georgia's prison population has grown by 417 percent in the last three decades, crushing the state budget. One of every 75 men in Georgia is now living in a jail or prison.

Fletcher says the only way to slow the prison population boom, is to free judges from mandatory sentencing laws on non violent crimes. Fletcher said "Society would probably be better served if those people were not serving so long and taking up the hard beds. So that we can be certain that we keep violent people within the prison system as they should be."

 Chief Justice Fletcher says the new state-wide public defender system, going into effect in 2005, will help guarantee fairness in Georgia courts.

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