05/23/2010 - Georgia taxpayers spend $1 billion a year locking up so many criminal offenders that the state has the fourth-highest incarceration rate in the nation. When it comes to overall criminal punishment, no state outdoes Georgia.
Hard-nosed measures approved with wide public support forced a five-fold increase in corrections spending since 1985.
A monumental prison construction campaign that quadrupled space over the last four decades seemed like money well spent as record crime rates in the 1990s left Georgians fearful of becoming the next victims of violence.
One in 13 Georgians is behind bars, on probation or on parole, according to the Pew Center on the States. That’s the highest rate of correctional control in the nation and more than the double the national average: 1 in 31.
By far the most costly segment of corrections is locking someone up. About 1 in 70 Georgians is behind bars, according to the Pew study.
Read the full article, A Billion-Dollar Burden or Justice?, on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Web site.