Next month the Georgia legislature will begin to consider whether substance abusers who are not a public safety risk should receive a stay out of jail card. How lawmakers decide the question could slow down runaway costs and impact state corrections policy for decades.
Last month the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform
said options – notably, more drug courts and treatment plus more day reporting centers — could reduce state prison population growth. Drug courts are part of an accountability sentencing movement that includes mental health courts and veterans’ courts. Here is what the council said about substance abuse:
“In 2010, Georgia courts sent more than 5,000 lower-risk drug and property offenders to prison who have never been to…