Category: Crime

Outlaw Policing for Profit in Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd Back in 1966, Bobby Fuller sang about, “Robbin’ people with a six-gun, I fought the law and the law won.” And rightfully so: Robbery is a crime. But what happens when it’s the law doing the robbing and the law wins? Civil asset forfeiture is supposed to be a process in which law enforcement agencies seize property and cash they have reason to believe were involved in a crime. A spate of stories from around the nation, however, reveals that too often, it’s a matter of “policing for profit:” seizing property and money of innocent people because agencies benefit directly from the proceeds. For years, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Institute for Justice… View Article

Getting Smart on Crime Puts Georgia Ahead

By Mike Klein Not long ago, the national philosophy behind criminal justice policy was to lock offenders away and teach them a lesson. This was popular with politicians who found that it played well before crowds and it was popular in communities where prisons and jails created jobs. Some folks even seemed to celebrate the idea that prisons were real hellholes. This philosophy worked great if you did not care about creating better citizens in people who had made a mistake but could be rehabilitated; if you did not want to think about the effect of mingling juveniles with hardened adult criminals; if you did not care about the spiraling cost to support the expansion of incarceration — just a… View Article

Astonishing Early Results from GA Juvenile Justice Reform

By Mike Klein Buoyed by freshly funded incarceration alternatives, Georgia reduced new juvenile justice detention commitments by an astonishing 62 percent during the nine month period that ended in June. As a result, the average daily secure population rate is also trending down as is the length of time juveniles are waiting for a detention center placement. “While it’s still early, we feel great about where we are,” Department of Juvenile Justice assistant deputy commissioner Joe Vignati told the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform on Tuesday morning. This was the Council’s first meeting since May although several committees met during the summer. DJJ Deputy Commissioner Carl Brown led off with an historical overview of Georgia juvenile justice that recalled… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government. This phrase, which appears on the first page of the Georgia Constitution, highlights the importance of the criminal justice system. In keeping with this focus, the State of Georgia recently enacted sweeping criminal justice reforms designed to reduce crime rates, limit recidivism and lower costs. As Atlanta’s leaders seek to address criminal justice, it would be wise to follow the state’s lead. As of 2010, one in every 70 Georgia adults were incarcerated, the fourth highest percentage in the country, and one in every 13 Georgia adults were under criminal justice supervision, the highest rate in the country. Nearly one-third of the adult inmates who were… View Article
By Mike Klein Georgia was already doing nearly as well as or better than other southern states in two categories – prisoner health care real cost dollars and the percentage of max out inmates released without supervision – even before the state began to implement criminal justice reform four years ago, according to two reports from the Pew Charitable Trusts Public Safety Performance Project. An adult inmate health care report published Tuesday analyzed percentage increases and actual dollars spent per adult inmate for all states during the five-year period 2007 through 2011. Pew said the median increase for all states was 10 percent with Georgia at just five percent. California had the greatest percentage increase – 42% – and the… View Article
By Mike Klein Federal juvenile justice officials have noticed Georgia’s aggressive reforms and must like what they see because Washington is offering to pony up hundreds of thousands of new dollars to help the state implement ongoing juvenile reforms. On Monday the U.S. Justice Department said it could make up to $600,000 available this year, with similar offers in Hawaii and Kentucky. The announcement said implementation grant funds would be used “to strengthen diversion and community-based options that will reduce their out-of-home population, avert millions of dollars in otherwise anticipated correctional spending, reduce recidivism and protect public safety. OJJDP applauds the efforts of Hawaii, Kentucky and Georgia and is committed to supporting states that undertake comprehensive juvenile justice reform.” OJJDP… View Article
Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd recently recorded three segments of “This Week in Blairsville” with WJRB radio host Patrick Malone.  Benita and Patrick discussed Georgia Public Policy Foundation priorities that include limiting government, helping taxpayers keep their dollars and encouraging individual responsibility.  “We believe that government has grown entirely too large,” Dodd said. Each program was recorded in two segments. First program: environment and transportation. Segment One Segment Two Second program: education and criminal justice reform. Segment One Segment Two Third program: taxation and government spending. Segment One Segment Two View Article
By Mike Klein Make no mistake, whatever else you think about government, it really digs data. The public sector is littered with data understandable to deep-diving data geeks. Then every so often there is an obscure report that even the little people can understand. Friday Report is one of the very best, a virtual window into Georgia justice data. Friday Report is published weekly by the state Department of Corrections. In a series of snapshots you can review categories that report weekly data for the previous twelve months and some data back forty-eight months. Other data goes back further to 2000 and even 1993. A long range view that establishes trend lines is more important than any reported shorter time… View Article
By Mike Klein Folks are noticing Georgia adult and juvenile justice reforms. This month the Texas Public Policy Foundation hosted a panel discussion that included Georgia pardons and paroles executive director Michael Nail. Nail spoke about his disruptive innovation decision to close brick-and-mortar offices in favor of virtual offices, how the state implemented technology platforms to track parolees, the adoption of a Google platform to change how parole employees fundamentally work and how video hearings radically upgraded time efficiency in the parole process. “Just last week we had the parole board member in Atlanta, we had the offender at Jackson State Prison about sixty miles south (of Atlanta) and we had the (parole) officer as well as a law enforcement… View Article
(Editor’s Note: Jay Neal is Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Reentry.  This article is an excerpt from his presentation to the Criminal Justice Reform Council on Monday, May 12 at the State Capitol in Atlanta.) By Jay Neal Our primary message is that public safety is the number one goal, THE number one goal. The Georgia Prisoner Reentry Initiative will reduce the number of crimes, it will reduce the number of victims, it will reduce the cost associated with crime.  Another primary message is that no approach will totally eliminate crime.  Let me share with you one of the reasons why that is important.  I live in Chickamauga, Georgia.  Less than a month ago in… View Article

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