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Friday February 12th, 2016 7:20AM

Ga. private probation industry target of lawsuits

By The Associated Press
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.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday that 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.

The newspaper reports 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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