Gov. Deal signs ‘Good Behavior Bill’ into law
3:12 pm, May 12th, 2011
Gov. Nathan Deal signed a slew of bills Wednesday, including one known as the “Good Behavior Bill,” which allows juvenile court judges to lessen the sentences of young felons based on their academic achievement, success with rehabilitation and improved attitude.
House Bill 373, sponsored by Rep. B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn, and Sen. Joshua McKoon, R-Columbus, puts more discretion in the hands of juvenile court judges, the state Department of Juvenile Justice said in a written statement.
“House Bill 373 will give youth in secure facilities an incentive to work on their attitude, education and behavior while they are in our custody,” Juvenile Justice Commissioner Amy Howell said. “Getting youth to place their energy into achievement and reform creates a safer environment for [department] staff, the youth and the community.”
The designated felons affected by the new law are juveniles who must serve between a year and 60 months in a Youth Development Campus. Those youth offenders “account for most long-term bed placements and occupy a significant number of beds in short-term Regional Youth Detention Centers,” the department said.
However, the bill isn’t likely to reduce the number in juvenile justice custody. Few of the designated felons are qualified for good behavior recommendations to juvenile court, the department said.
Another bill of legal interest signed by the governor was Senate Bill 30, sponsored by Sen. Bill Hamrick, R-Carrollton, which requires municipal judges to be licensed attorneys. However, current municipal court judges who are not lawyers will be allowed to continue to serve.