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Probation Detention Centers

A Probation Detention Center (PDC) is a minimum security facility for confining probationers up to 180 days. They are highly structured with regimented schedules that included supervised work and programming to build skills to allow the probationer to succeed on probation and in the community. 

There are a few different ways to end up in a PDC.  The most common reason is for violation of probation after a revocation/modification proceeding.  A period in a PDC can also be imposed at sentencing.  The specific statutory authorization is found at OCGA § 42-8-35.4.  The person must be at least 17 years old.  The following other qualifications must be found by the court:

  • Convicted of a felony and sentenced to probation for not less than one year
  • Previously been sentenced to probation for a forcible misdemeanor (OCGA § 16-1-3(7)) and violated probation or other probation alternatives and subsequently sentenced to probation of at least one year.

The PDC time cannot exceed 180 days.  The wording of a sentence can be very important when it includes a pretrial detention center term.  OCGA 17-10-11(b)(1) allows courts to exclude credit for time served from the probation detention center time. In other words, the wait time for a bed at a PDC does not necessarily count toward the PDC time although it does count toward the total sentence time.  In practice, I typically see PDC's wanting to see specific allowance from the judge to give credit for the wait time, although the statute clearly requires the opposite. The ability to include the wait time is fairly recent, and many judges are used to the old way of treating PDC as a program that must be completed in full.  So, especially in courts outside the metro areas, it can be a hard sell to get judges to give credit for the wait time.

Some PDC's offer more intensive substance abuse and mental health services as part of their programming.

In general, a person can be sentenced to a specified time period in the facility.  If they are sentenced to a range of time (for instance, 120-150 days), then the staff of the facility can determine how well the person is doing and move the release date toward the lower number.

This is a sentence to the custody of the Department of Corrections.  As such, the DOC can transfer a probationer to other facilities, including state prisons, in order to provide needed physical and mental health care or for other reasons essential to the care and supervision of the probationer or as necessary for the effective administration and management of its facilities.  A PDC is a state facility and persons serving a sentence to a PDC are subject to DOC's administrative sanctions program for violations of facility rules. Some violations could subject the person to new felony or misdemeanor charges.  Almost any assault or battery charge occurring in a detention facility can be upgraded to a felony charge.

A Youtube video produced by DOC gives a slightly dated look at probation detention centers in Georgia.


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