ATLANTA (AP) _ Georgia's crowded prison population is expected to swell even larger over the next few years under new parole guidelines designed to keep the state's worst violent offenders behind bars longer.
The state Board of Pardons and Paroles gave tentative approval
yesterday to new rules that would use a formula aimed at calculating a prisoner's chance of re-offending in determining when he or she would be granted parole. The rules also seek to bring parole guidelines in line with sentences handed down by the judges in each case.
The change would mean that high-risk violent offenders would spend more time in prison, while those behind bars for minor crimes who are unlikely to offend again would get out sooner.
Board chairman Garland Hunt said today that by creating better
uniformity throughout the system it will give the board's decisions more credibility.
Georgia's prison population, the fifth largest in the nation, is expected to rise in coming years, fueled by tough mandatory sentences and a steady stream of new admissions.
Officials say the parole rule change would initially cause the state's prison population to soar above what it would be if the system was left alone. They said by 2010 the growth would slow. By December 2012 there, would be 1,730 fewer prisoners in the system than there would have been if the system had not changed.