Georgia is getting smarter on crime after Governor Deal signed a criminal justice bill Thursday at the Marietta Kiwanis Club to help save taxes and promote public safety.
Deal says the bill will make the public safer by breaking the cycle of anyone released from jail from being arrested again for other crimes.
Judges will now have the option to make more suitable decisions in drug-related cases where the defendant isn't the primary suspect in a criminal enterprise, or in other cases where the prosecution, defense attorney and judge agree.
The bill will also give defendants and participants in a drug court or mental health court program the opportunity for limited driving permits to help them get to school or work as long as they meet program requirements.
Those who earn a HOPE GED voucher while in prison will now be able to use it anytime within two years after their release.
The legislation creates the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Commission so there are periodic reviews of juvenile and criminal justice systems to help ensure that they are effective and efficient.
Recommendations were made on the bill from the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform as follow-up legislation to the criminal justice reform act of 2012.