State lawmakers return to the Capitol today after a week of budget hearings.
Among the recommendations they will be considering from Gov. Nathan Deal in the both the amended 2015 and 2016 budgets is money to help lower the recidivism rate in Georgia’s prisons.
He’s including over $15 million dollars for two new charter high schools in the prison system so inmates can actually earn a diploma as opposed to just a GED.
He says seven out of ten Georgia inmates have neither.
“Education can open the door of opportunity while shutting the revolving door that has plagued our prison system for far too long,” says Deal.
The recommendation includes nearly 30 academic positions for the new schools which would begin with the 2015-2016 school year.
Deal says the schools would partner with the newly renamed Georgia Career College System, formerly the state’s technical colleges, to teach vocational skills.
He says private prisons would also be given incentives to do the same.
“With a high school diploma or a GED, these individuals will certainly be better equipped to get a job and hopefully able to assume a greater pursuit of a job opportunity in the future because they have this basic education behind them,” says Deal.
He’s also including money to help inmates better assimilate into society once released through a transitional housing program for those inmates considered at highest risk for reoffending.
Another $5 million is being proposed to expand the state’s accountability courts to keep non-violent offenders out of prison.
“This leaves our costly prison beds for the most dangerous and violent offenders as should be the case,” says Deal.