Rehabilitation Gains Favor in Georgia’s Prisons

James Donald, the new Department of Corrections commissioner for Georgia, is committed to getting prisoners out of jail through rehabilitation programs, the Macon Telegraph reported June 1.

“What we’re looking for is an opportunity to get you home,” Donald told about 100 inmates in a minimum-security prison. “It’s about redeeming you back to the family.”

In a state not known for a progressive attitude toward prisoner rehabilitation, Donald plans to work in getting nonviolent offenders released by introducing a drug-treatment plan. The program, said Donald, would reduce recidivism by getting inmates off drugs by the time they leave prison.

Currently, there is no residential addiction treatment center for women in the state system. Donald plans to open one, as well as four day-reporting centers that would allow offenders to stay out of prison by staying off drugs and learning life skills. Donald’s plan would also enlist churches to help those released from prison stay out of trouble.

Donald said the rehabilitation programs are also needed to free up prison space. Currently, about 4,000 inmates are housed in county jails at the state’s expense, because the state prisons are at 102 percent of capacity