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Right on Crime | June 21, 2011
It is well-understood that parole is less expensive than incarceration, but the state of Georgia is now testing a new program to make parole even more cost-effective. The state has expanded its parole population by 10% in the past ten years, and this has led to a shortage of parole officers for mandatory check-ins. According to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, the state is not hiring new officers to monitor all these parolees. It is getting creative instead.
Georgia hopes to save money by implementing a self-reporting telephone system. Now, parolees will call in on designated check-in dates, which will be confirmed by vocal recognition software. Not only does this make parole check-ins much more convenient for parolees, the state will save a significant amount of money. Instead of having to pay a parole officer to organize these check-ins, parolees will bear the manageable cost of $7 per month to participate in the program. (A parole officer, on the other hand, would make about $50,000, on average).
The voice recognition software is reliable, and it maintains accountability for parolees. The preliminary experiment will last three months, and advocates for conservative criminal justice reform should be eager to see the results of the pilot program.