published Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to sign overhaul of criminal justice system

Governor Nathan Deal is set to sign legislation that will bring sweeping changes to the state's criminal justice system, a priority he set early in his administration.

Lawmakers spent months hammering out the proposal, which passed in the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support. Some changes will start July 1.

Sentencing reform is a large component of the bill, which also sets up alternative courts to address substance abuse and mental health issues. The measure also shifts the approach to drug possession prosecutions to a weight-based system that supporters say will more fairly punish violators.

The bill also address mandatory reporting requirements for suspected child abuse, provisions for restrictions on who can access a jobseeker's criminal record and a shortened period for suspects held in probation detention centers.

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