Category: Crime

Council’s Misdemeanor Bail Reform Proposals

A summary of the misdemeanor bail reform findings and recommendations from the February 2018 Report of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform (pages 25-39). By Sophia Strickland The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform’s 2018 report delivered to Gov. Nathan Deal in February focused on pretrial justice, especially within misdemeanor bail practices. According to the report: An increasing amount of research is showing the negative consequences of a money-based bail system. Those people who cannot afford bail and therefore incarcerated pretrial could lose their jobs or go into further financial debt or lose their jobs, and then cannot support their families or pay the court-imposed fines or obligations. In fact, studies show that people who are released on bail,… View Article
By Sophia Strickland Reports on the United States’ rapidly increasing incarcerated population have sparked a discussion over bail reform. However, a segment that may not receive as much attention in this area is the pretrial, incarcerated rural population, which has contributed disproportionately to the increasing jailed population in the United States, according to a new report by Right On Crime. Nationwide, the jailed population increased three times its original size between 1970 and 2014  but sevenfold in small counties in the same period. The increase in this rural pretrial jailed group can be partly attributed to an economic incentive for local jails to house other jurisdictions’ inmates for remuneration and the growing opioid crisis with increased related drug arrests… View Article
By Doug Collins U.S. Rep. Doug Collins Georgians value justice. My father was a State Trooper for 31 years, and he helped me understand that an effective criminal justice system elevates human dignity by punishing wrongdoing, protecting victims and rehabilitating offenders. By taking this approach, our own state effected a 21 percent drop in violent crime between 2005 and 2016. State leaders, watching Georgia’s prison population more than double between 1990 and 2011, responded with meaningful changes to its justice system, including prison reform.   Some prisoners have records that scare us; they should remain safely behind bars. Others have made mistakes they can pay for and recover from. Prison reform is structured to help these individuals redeem themselves, and… View Article
By Kyle Wingfield Lots of things die at the end of a legislative session: bills, constitutional amendments, one’s faith in humanity (just kidding about that last one – mostly). Some of what doesn’t survive is not to be regretted; some is. Rarely do lawmakers stand by as an effective entity fades into the sunset. But there was one such case this year. The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform was created in 2013 – by a law that provided for its dissolution on June 30, 2018, unless legislators voted to keep it running. They did not. So, after five years of vetting and proposing ways to make the state’s criminal justice system work smarter, the council will close less than … View Article
By Jerry Madden Jerry Madden Criminal justice reform may wind up being the most significant conservative policy change in Washington this year. That may sound surprising to some, but not to anyone who has been watching this movement in conservative states over the last decade. Starting in Texas, conservatives of all stripes – fiscal, social, constitutional, or otherwise – have found favor with reforms to the criminal justice system that focus on increasing public safety and cutting costs to taxpayers. This is, seemingly, a very commonsense goal. But take a look at how most states and the federal government operate and you will find that well-functioning, well-focused systems are far from the norm. The results are undeniable: Texas has lowered… View Article

Marsy’s Law of Unintended Consequences

By Benita M. Dodd It’s hard to fathom the depth of the pain and suffering of crime victims and families left behind. For Henry Nicholas, the experiences of his family after his sister was murdered inspired his mission to protect victims. A student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas died after being shot in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend, Kerry Conley. Marsy’s brother told The Los Angeles Times: “After the funeral service, we were driving home and stopped at a market so my mother could just run in and get a loaf of bread. And there in the checkout line was my sister’s murderer, glowering at her.” He said the family was not told the killer… View Article

Second Chances for Ex-Offenders

By John G. Malcolm and John-Michael Seibler  A simple adjustment in federal law would provide much greater opportunities for young individuals who made some bad life choices but atoned to reintegrate into society successfully and to become productive, law-abiding citizens capable of supporting themselves, their families and their communities. Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and Hakeem Jeffries, (D-NY), introduced a bill Wednesday, the Renew Act of 2017 (H.R. 2617), with one goal in mind: Increase the age of eligibility for first-time offenders who were charged with simple misdemeanor drug possession to have their record – including any record of their arrest, charge, or disposition – erased, a process known as “expungement.” Under current federal law (18 U.S.C. § 3607),… View Article

Eyes In the Sky Over Sandy Springs?

The use of drones has exploded over the last several years, with the (mostly) flying robots so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget that even as recently 10 years ago, no consumer-grade versions of the devices were even available. (See the Foundation’s March 2017 article on the subject). The implications of the topic are coming to bear in a very real way for those in metro Atlanta, with a proposal to bring law enforcement drones to Sandy Springs. As reported in a city staff memo and by reporternewspapers.net, the city is considering the use of a new and ruggedly-equipped drone device for purposes including “Photographing and video recording crime scenes … [a]ssisting in reconnaissance for high risk… View Article
The topic of civil asset forfeiture, the practice of law enforcement seizing and holding property even if the owner is never charged with or convicted of a crime, has made the news recently both in Georgia and nationally. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation focuses frequently on civil asset forfeiture. Many other policy organizations and grassroots groups, both conservative and liberal, have decried the practice. Regrettably, its status remains the same after the most recent Georgia legislative session. While the last reforms Georgia made were meaningful, the result has been somewhat underwhelming. There should be transparency through increased reporting.  Unfortunately, there is no real accountability for missing information and some confusion in the reporting process itself, as the Foundation reported View Article

Education is Key to Redeeming Lives in Prison

By Gerard Robinson and Van Jones Every year, more than 650,000 men and women leave prison and return home to communities across America. They are often released with little more than some spare change, a bus ticket and a criminal record that bars access to some of their most basic rights and privileges. Facing deep social stigma, many returning citizens feel as though they have left the grips of a physical prison only to find themselves engulfed in a new, social prison. It is tragic but not surprising that 50-75 percent of them end up incarcerated again within five years. In today’s knowledge economy, higher education is one of the first rungs on the ladder to economic freedom and social… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been doing important work for the free enterprise movement for the past 20 years.  I can assure you from the vantage of a non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. with much the same principles as GPPF that the work we do simply would not be possible if it were not for the important work that GPPF does.  We see it, we understand it, it is an inspiration to us, it is the kind of thing that will translate into the important work that we can do in Washington, D.C.  We thank you very much for that.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2011) more quotes