Deal Thursday signed House Bill 349, which gives judges the option to avoid imposing mandatory minimum sentences in certain circumstances. Deal says judges now have the option to make more appropriate decisions in drug-related cases where the defendant isn't the primary suspect in a criminal enterprise.
The legislation also creates the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Commission, which will conduct periodic reviews of the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
The bill also contains provisions offering limited driving permits for defendants involved in drug court and mental health programs who meet their program's requirements. The law also allows defendants who have earned a HOPE GED voucher while incarcerated to use it within two years of release.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.