Ga. Private Probation Industry Target of Lawsuits

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Updated: Sun, 19 Jan 2014 12:45:22 EST

ATLANTA (AP) — Opponents of Georgia's private probation system say companies supervising low-level offenders are earning millions in fees while using law enforcement offices as collections agencies when they go unpaid.

More than a dozen lawsuits argue for state lawmakers to re-evaluate some of the companies' practices. This year, the Georgia Supreme Court is expected to examine the fees and other expenses probation companies impose, which have led some low-level offenders back to jail because of nonpayment.

34 probation companies operating in Georgia have supervised nearly 349,000 low-level offenders in the past two years and have collected more than $200 million in fines and restitution.

The industry's supporters say the companies are better equipped to deal with low-level offenders than local court systems.

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

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