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A Republican Governor Is Leading the Country's Most Successful Prison Reform (Gov. Deal of Georgia)

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Over the last four years, mandatory sentencing minimums have been modified, and judges’ discretion in sentencing has been expanded. The adult prison population has been given enhanced access to educational resources, including a program that enables two charter schools in the state to go into prisons to teach inmates, and those participating earn a high school diploma instead of a GED.

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In addition, inmates with felonies applying to work for the state no longer have to check a box on their job applications that discloses their criminal histories and would often disqualify them from being considered for a job from the outset. “We banned the box,” said Deal. “It is not going to affect them getting an interview.” The state has also invested $17 million into measures aimed at reducing recidivism and rehabilitating low-risk, nonviolent offenders—including expanding accountability courts like those for drug use and DUIs, and funding community-based programs that have already proven to be more cost-effective than a prison sentence and are designed to reduce crime in the long run.

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Since he was elected at the end of 2010, Georgia’s incarcerated population dropped from an estimated 56,432 to 53,383 at the start of this year. That reduction virtually slashed the state’s backlog of inmates in county jails who were waiting to be transferred to a prison or probation detention center. Keeping inmates in local jails typically cost the state $20 million annually. Without the backlog, the cost associated with transferring inmates “plummeted to $40,720,” per the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform February 2015 report.

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“Because it has had a disproportionately high incarceration rate, because it’s in the South, because it’s Republican,” Holcomb [national director of ACLU’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration] said, “people aren’t expecting criminal justice reform to come out of states with those characteristics.” But Georgia has indeed become what she calls “a leader state.”

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121425/gop-governor-nathan-deal-leading-us-prison-reform

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Good for him/them.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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