ATLANTA — State Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, has introduced legislation that could help reduce the amount of time people spend on probation. Strickland represents the 17th District, which includes parts of Newton, Rockdale and Henry counties.
Senate Bill 105 provides a unified process by which individuals who have served at least three years on probation and have successfully met a list of eligibility criteria can seek early termination of their probation sentence.
According to the Georgia Justice Project, Georgia has more individuals on probation or parole than any other state in the country: 1 in 18 Georgians. The average probation sentence in Georgia is slightly more than six years versus the nationwide average of two years. Forty percent of all probation sentences in Georgia exceed 10 years.
SB 105 is designed to give thousands of Georgians who have proven their rehabilitation through good behavior the ability to access early termination. In order to be eligible for early termination, the offender must have had no prior felony convictions and have been sentenced to no more than two years in confinement. These offenders could have their probation terminated if they have served three years on probation, have paid all restitution owed, have not had their probation revoked in the immediately preceding 24 months and have not been arrested for anything other than a non-serious traffic offense.
“I am proud to author this bipartisan legislation that helps ensure that those that have served their time and paid their restitution are able to transition back into society and gain meaningful employment instead of getting stuck in what can become a never-ending cycle in our criminal justice system,” said Strickland.
GJP Executive Director Doug Ammar applauded introduction of the bill.
“We appreciate Sen. Strickland’s interest and leadership in helping provide a pathway for rehabilitated Georgians to re-enter their communities as productive members of society,” he said. “We look forward to working together to achieve passage of the legislation this spring.”
Georgia Justice Project and the REFORM Community Supervision coalition, which includes Faith and Freedom Coalition, REFORM Alliance, RestoreHer and the American Conservative Union Foundation, have joined together in advocating for passage of this legislation.