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Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 2:25am

Criminal Justice Reform Goes To House

After months of debate, the proposal to overhaul Georgia's criminal justice system is headed to a vote in the state House, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

The legislation, which aims to balance public safety with more cost-effective ways to deal with the state's non-violent offenders, quickly cleared the joint legislative panel on the issue on Tuesday and appears to have buy-in from stakeholders, including Gov. Nathan Deal.

Since taking office in January 2010, the governor has touted criminal justice reform as a move that will save tax dollars, improve the state's rehabilitation rate and keep Georgians safe. According to the committee, Georgia's prison population has more than doubled in the past two decades to more than 56,000 inmates at a taxpayer cost of more than $1 billion annually.