Judge urges Ga. sentencing changes

ATLANTA — Chief Justice Carol Hunstein says it's time for Georgia to reform its tough criminal sentences.

 

In her annual State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the state Legislature today, Hunstein said many inmates clogging Georgia's prisons "are a greater threat to themselves than to society."

Hunstein said rather than locking up drug addicts and the mentally ill, "we must reserve our prison beds for our most serious criminals." Alternative sentences should be offered to improve public safety and save taxpayer dollars.

Later today, Hunstein is set to appear with Gov. Nathan Deal to announce plans for a panel that would make recommendations on sentencing changes next year.

Georgia spends more than $1 billion a year on its prison budget.

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