By Kimberly Page
June 30, 2008
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia judges can no longer sentence defendants to diversion centers that aimed to rehabilitate criminals by keeping them out of prison.
Because of budget cuts, the Georgia Department of Corrections shut down six centers including this one in Albany. They served as middle-ground between prison and probation. Offenders held jobs during the day and had to report back to the facility each night.
The President of the Council of Superior Court judges told us that judges liked having the diversion center option, but he admits they were underused.
"Any time that the state cuts back on any sentencing option for judges, we typically are not in favor of it. Simply because it gives us another alternative," said Judge Stephen Goss, Dougherty County Superior Court.
Judge Goss says one problem with Albany's diversion center was that defendants were required to pay room and board, but often didn't have the money to do so.
The state's last boot camp for young offenders is also shut down because of budget cuts.