New prisoner law meant to help felons blend back in society - CBS46 News

New prisoner law meant to help felons blend back in society

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GAINESVILLE, GA (CBS46) -

A new state law said to help keep convicted felons from committing more crimes and help them blend into society is in the books.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into law at Antioch Baptist Church in Gainesville on Sunday.

Inmates from a women's prison arrived to sing in the choir during the special service. They filed out of a Board of Corrections bus wearing drab tan prison uniforms, switching inside the church to flowing white and red choir gowns.

As the prisoners sang several songs, the church, including the governor, applauded and gave them standing ovations.

Neal signed the bill after the service, with everyone clapping in celebration of the new law.

The new law requires the Georgia Board of Corrections to create a program preparing prisoners to go back into society.

They must finish any treatment plans and job training while in prison.

The law also keeps a felon who is in prison for minor drug crimes from having their license automatically suspended. That way, as nonviolent offenders, they can get to and from work.

Judy Mize, a parishioner at the church and the mother of a convicted felon, told CBS46 she knows how difficult it is for someone who gets out of prison to find a job.

"The challenges are hard because to be a black man in this society and no job with a family, child support, you have to pay fines and restitution … it's really hard," she explained.

This prisoner law is phase three of two that leaders already passed in 2012 and 2013.

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