Savannah – Governor Nathan Deal is pushing alternative sentencing programs as a way of reducing the prison population. Orlando Montoya of Georgia Public Broadcasting in Savannah reports, it's all about the cash-strapped state budget.
Deal wants more drug courts as a way to keep non-violent offenders out of jail, reducing the need to lock them up. Coastal Glynn County started up a drug court about 12-years-ago. Judge Amanda Williams says, there are start-up costs and finding money to keep offenders in what she calls “excellent” rehab programs is a constant struggle.
“You need to see that there is an incentive for judges to take on the responsibility of doing this from a standpoint of seeing that if you start a program you know that the state's going to help you get the money to fund it.”
Williams says, rehab costs her court about three-hundred-50 dollars a month per peson, is still much cheaper thatn prison. Governor Deal called for more alternative programs for non-violent drug offenders in his State of the State address.