Bill changing criminal system heads to governor - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bill changing criminal system heads to governor

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ATLANTA (AP) - A bill meant to overhaul Georgia's criminal justice system and cut costs now heads to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

The House voted 162-0 to approve the legislation, which was slightly modified by the state Senate.

The new rules are supposed to emphasize the rehabilitation of nonviolent offenders as a cheaper alternative than incarceration.

Lawmakers have raised the monetary threshold for most theft crimes, addressed mandatory reporting requirements for suspected child abuse and provided restrictions on who can access a jobseeker's criminal record.

Georgia's prison population has more than doubled in the past 20 years to more than 56,000 inmates at a taxpayer cost of more than $1 billion annually.

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