When searching for solutions to Georgia's budget crisis, we should look to expanding current programs that are showing results. Drug Courts were established in Georgia in 1994 and offer an alternative to incarceration that requires accountability and treatment. Drug Court graduates receive significantly fewer new felony and misdemeanor charges and convictions are much less likely to be incarcerated in prison.
The cost for an offender per year in a Drug Court program is significantly less than incarceration. "Managing a drug offender in the community costs much less than sending a person to prison. One year in Drug Court costs Georgia about 1/4 the cost of one year in prison $18,852." Source: Georgia Department of Corrections and Administrative Office of the Courts
Our new governor is a supporter of Drug Courts and so his son Judge Jason Deal. In an interview Judge Deal says, “I would come home and tell stories about what I’d seen, … If you don’t believe in miracles, just come see drug court for a day. You’ll leave believing in miracles. When [drug offenders] start getting clean and being held accountable and having to work, they’re whole life changes. They become law-abiding citizens who work every day and support their kids. That should be the goal of our justice system.”