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Long Probation Sentences May See Some Relief in Georgia



One of every 18 Georgians is on probation. This equates to more than 200,000 people on probation in the state. Despite efforts for reform in 2017, Georgia still has more citizens on probation per capita than any other state. To complicate matters more, Georgia doesn't have a cap for probation sentences, leaving some individuals sentenced to probation for decades. But there is hope on the horizon.

GA SB105

GA SB105 passed the Georgia Senate on February 25, 2021. It is now in the House with a favorable outcome expected. Sen. Brian Strickland sponsored the bill as part of a bipartisan task force. Criminal justice reform became a focus in 2017 when Gov. Nathan Deal backed reform that has successfully reduced the number of incarcerations. The flip side is that those who would have been incarcerated are now facing probation sentences that provide multiple barriers to becoming productive members of society.

Why is SB105 needed?

Beginning a new path of productive citizenship while on probation starts with finding employment. Employers aren't quite as willing to take on an employee subject to having a probation officer stop by to ensure compliance with probation requirements. Even when employment is found, fines continue for as long as probation does, with felony probation costs being at least $32 per month and misdemeanor probation a minimum of $35 per month. Probation may be due to minor traffic offense fines an individual can't afford to pay. Long-term probation sentences make it even less likely they will have the ability to pay and may lead to revoked probation. The cycle is played out over and over again.

How will SB105 help?

This bill would make the process simpler for offenders with an original sentence of less than a year in prison. GA SB105 would also make all Georgians who have served three or more years of probation with no new offenses and all fines paid automatically eligible to exit probation with approval of their case by a judge. As many as 48,000 people could become eligible to end their probation with the passage of this bill. Since 2017, there have only been approximately 200 people in the state of Georgia to complete their probation sentences. The goal of SB105 is to shorten the amount of time low-risk offenders are on probation and make the time on probation supervised more effectively for a more positive outcome.

AJ Richman understands that your case is unique, and your defense team's actions speak louder than words. Contact Richman Law Firm for a consultation of your case.

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