Category: The Forum

By Mike Klein The most sweeping juvenile justice reform legislation since Jimmy Carter was Governor sailed through the Georgia House on Wednesday afternoon, passing 172-0.  It moves to the Senate where passage is predicted and then on to Governor Nathan Deal who supports the legislation. Leaders from both parties spoke favorably in the well before the overwhelming vote. House Bill 641 would update Georgia statutes to make certain the state is in federal compliance. Like ongoing adult criminal justice reform, the legislation moves the state toward provision of more services to juveniles who need personal treatment and less reliance on incarceration when juveniles are not considered a threat to themselves, their families or public safety. A series of short presentations… View Article
By Mike Klein Thursday morning a House and Senate special committee will gather to discuss mission creep.  That is not the official name of the hearing, also known as the first hearing to consider criminal justice reform legislation, but it might just as well have been advertised as mission creep. Georgia criminal justice reform legislation is many things, nearly all of them positive, but it also is an example of mission creep.  To understand whether House Bill 1176 hit or missed the mark, let’s begin with the assignment given to last year’s Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform: “Address the growth of the state’s prison population, contain corrections costs and increase efficiencies and effectiveness that result in better offender management; … View Article
By Eric Wearne In Teacher in America, Jacques Barzun writes that, “In theory, the printed book should have technologically annihilated the teacher, for the original ‘lecture’ was a reading from a costly manuscript to students who could not afford it.” Clearly, that has not been the case. Barzun was talking about new educational technologies (decades ago), and while teachers are not likely to be “annihilated” by new technology in the near future, schooling will likely look very different, and very soon. In his 2011 book Getting Smart, venture capitalist and a former school superintendent Tom Vander Ark makes a case for changing our views of schooling to keep pace with new technologies. He argues for a blend of… View Article
Atlanta Two weeks after releasing its Issue Analysis on criminal justice reform for adults, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation today released “Five Essential Principles for Georgia’s Juvenile Justice System,” a new Issue Analysis that focuses on how Georgia policy-makers can enhance and improve the way the state deals with juvenile offenders. The Issue Analysis was written by Jeanette Moll, a juvenile justice policy analyst in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Kelly McCutchen, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The two organizations are sister think tanks. The Issue Analysis discusses how rewriting the Georgia’s juvenile justice statutes can improve the chances of nearly 50,000 youths in the system… View Article
By Mike Klein Criminal justice reform legislation introduced this week contains highly anticipated alternatives to incarceration such as expanded drug treatment courts, along with probation and parole revisions, and modifications to burglary, forgery and theft statues.  We knew that was coming. Some sections of House Bill 1176 that were not expected include extending the statute of limitations on prosecution of child abuse cases – this was not a specific focus of work done last year by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform — and religious clergy might well be surprised to learn they are mentioned in the criminal justice reform conversation. Gov. Nathan Deal’s office already signaled the current bill is not good enough. “It doesn’t achieve exactly what… View Article

Checking Up on Health

Health Policy Briefs: February 28, 2012 Compiled by Benita Dodd Registration is open and seats are filling quickly for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s next Leadership Breakfast, 8 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. State Attorney General Sam Olens and health care expert Ronald E. Bachman will give the “Georgia Health Care Update,” just days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in the challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Georgia is one of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business that filed the challenge to the law. The cost to register for the Leadership Breakfast is $25. Register here: Find out more here:… View Article
By Jeanette Moll and Kelly McCutchen Like many of their colleagues across the country, Georgia policy-makers are taking an increasingly close look at their criminal justice system. In search of both increased effectiveness as well as cost savings, policy-makers now have an ideal opportunity to evaluate and improve the correctional system. An essential part of that review must include that portion of the justice system which oversees juvenile delinquents. Georgia’s state budget for juvenile justice is $266 million in Fiscal Year 2011 and may grow to $279 million in 2012.1In addition, almost 50,000 youths are in the system each year, either awaiting adjudication or serving their sentences2– 50,000 youths who represent the future workforce and citizens of Georgia. Undoubtedly, the… View Article

Juvenile Justice Reform Bill Vote Possible on Tuesday

By Mike Klein The Georgia House could vote as early as Tuesday on juvenile justice reform legislation that is every bit as significant as a similar adult criminal justice reform initiative, but it has received less public scrutiny.  The bill appears to have significant bipartisan support in the House and Senate.  One big proposal would mandate that county prosecutors be assigned to every juvenile court. “We are making substantial changes in the way in which we handle problem children in Georgia,” House Judiciary Chair Rep. Wendell Willard said this past weekend during the 21st annual Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary conference in Atlanta.  “One of the things that I’ve made sure is in there is that before the state can… View Article

Friday Facts: February 24th, 2012

It’s Friday!   Events – March 22 Leadership Breakfast: As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider arguments regarding the constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Georgia anticipates the aftermath, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and health care expert Ronald E. Bachman will provide a timely, “Georgia Health Care Update,” at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 22, 2012, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Find out more at online by Tuesday, March 20, at This Leadership Breakfast will cost $25 to attend. Quotes of note – “[E]conomic liberty and creative entrepreneurship are the basis of any solution to today’s social and economic difficulties. Blaming business, setting wages and attempting to… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen In a typical election year, legislators tend to adopt a “do-nothing” attitude lest they somehow offend potential voters. This year in Georgia could, and should, be different in order to take advantage of several transformative opportunities. Georgia has the fourth-highest incarceration rate in the nation. This year offers an opportunity to implement reforms – proven in Texas and other states – to make our streets safer, change lives and save taxpayers money. Implementing more effective and less expensive sanctions for non-violent offenders, including treatment for drug addition and mental health issues, could save taxpayers more than $250 million. Eight states are currently considering significant income tax cuts. Last year, the tax reform council appointed by the Legislature… View Article

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