Diversion Centers Closing

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Georgia has the 5th largest prison system in the nation...with over 60,000 prisoners.

But often courts come across people who don't quite belong in prison..yet need someplace else to go.

That's when they send them to a diversion center.

"Its a place where probationers are sent to as not a complete confinement they are able to go out and work in the community which enables them to pay back their restitution to the victim of their crimes,"said Thomas County Investigator Jason Carrol.

But on June 1st the Thomasville Diversion center along with five others will be shut down.

Officials from the Department of Corrections say this part of statewide budget cuts and also because these centers are underutilized.

Sheriff Carlton Powell sits on the board and says the department is moving in a more cost- efficient direction.

"One of the things were going to see more and more now is what we call a day reporting center..people are actually allowed to live outside the diversion center, their put on probation and encouraged to get a job," said the Sheriff.

However officials say the centers still serve an important role in the community.

"They don't overpopulate the prisons, now with these things gonna start closing down in my opinion its gonna start making them more overpopulated," said Jason.

"That has an economic impact on the area but its not something that's good for our economy, we need all the jobs we can get,"said the Sheriff.

The department says the 18 employees and up to 50 probationers in Thomasville will all be reassigned to other areas.

The department will be focusing its resources on adding 2,000 new prison beds across the peach state.