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Georgia’s top judge applauds criminal justice reform success

ATLANTA — Georgia’s top judge applauded progress made on criminal justice reform in the state.

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice P. Harris Hines, who plans to retire in August, gave his State of the Judiciary address Thursday before the General Assembly.

Criminal justice reform has been a priority for outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal. Hines said reform measures implemented in recent years are accomplishing three goals: holding lawbreakers accountable, improving public safety and saving money.

He said the prison population and crime rate have both dropped, and there has been a 36 percent decline in youth confinement statewide.

Hines also touted the success of accountability courts — like drug courts, mental health courts and veterans courts — that have been established across the state to give a second chance to low-risk, non-violent offenders.

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