Category: Crime

Don’t Let the Law Get Away With Georgians’ Goods

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD There’s no doubt that Georgia’s law enforcement officials dislike strings that restrict civil asset forfeiture, which is the power of law enforcement to seize and keep property suspected of being involved in criminal activity. They’ve told legislators that … time and again. For the rest of Georgia, however, it’s a problem. Unlike with criminal asset forfeiture, under civil forfeiture the owner of the property being seized does not have to be charged with a crime. Cash, cars, homes and other property can be taken without even filing charges, let alone convicting the property’s owner of a crime. It’s a cash cow and an incentive for excessive enthusiasm, even abuse, on the part of law… View Article

GA House Passes Interstate Compact for Juveniles Bill

By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Every year Georgia locks up hundreds of juveniles who fled here from other states after they violated their probation or parole terms.  Those hundreds sleep in Georgia beds, eat Georgia food, attend Georgia school classes, use Georgia medical services and in every other regard, they become a costly burden for Georgia taxpayers.  But that might end soon Monday afternoon the Georgia House unanimously approved HB 898 which would enable the state to rejoin the Interstate Compact for Juveniles (IJC).  Georgia is currently the only state that is not an IJC member although it was a member for several decades until withdrawal in 2010. The Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommended that… View Article
The Reason Foundation’s Leonard Gilroy has an interesting report on the growing interest in social impact bonds. Georgia’s existing criminal justice reforms have created a need to fund community-based services, which could be leveraged by social impact bonds. Gilroy writes: “An article in the first edition of this newsletter back in October noted the growing interest among states in the emerging tool of social impact bonds (SIBs), which are public-private partnerships in which private philanthropic organizations, financiers, nonprofits or other nongovernmental organizations finance and implement new social service delivery models on behalf of governments under a pay-for-success contract model. Since then, there have been some noteworthy developments in three states—New York State, New Jersey, and Washington State—that demonstrate that the… View Article

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Gets a Facelift

By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia civil forfeiture reform legislation has undergone a cosmetic facelift that might improve its chances for passage but critics are already focused on language which states “an acquittal or dismissal in a criminal proceeding shall not preclude civil forfeiture proceedings.” In effect, you could be found innocent in court but you could still lose your personal property. An HB 1 substitute was published Tuesday afternoon after the first meeting of the House Judiciary committee chaired by Rep. Wendell Willard who is the bill’s primary sponsor.  The new bill makes significant concessions to prosecutors and sheriffs who essentially shut down civil forfeiture reform effort last year with their strong opposition to proposed… View Article

Georgia Poised to Rejoin Interstate Compact for Juveniles

By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia appears poised to rejoin the Interstate Compact for Juveniles (ICJ) which is one of those under-the-radar parts of law that most folks don’t think much about. Forty-nine states have a contractual agreement under which they can return out-of-state juvenile offenders to their home states. The state that does not participate with the other 49 states is Georgia. It was not always that way. Georgia was an Interstate Compact member starting in 1955 through the first seven years of former Governor Sonny Perdue’s administration. But in 2010, the eighth and final year of Perdue’s second term, Georgia withdrew from the Compact.  That decision is now seen as incompatible with ongoing juvenile… View Article
(Click on YouTube links to watch Council on Criminal Justice Reform segments.) By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia would “Ban the Box” and take a deeper dive into return-to-prison recidivism rates under two preliminary recommendations approved this week by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.  The Council’s final report is due to Governor Nathan Deal, the judiciary and legislators before they open their session on Monday, January 13, 2014. The Council approved four proposals to update civil asset forfeiture law which has been a contentious issue.  (YouTube)  And, it sought to strengthen personal protection by proposing legal action could be taken against private parties who publish erroneous or outdated criminal records, especially when… View Article
Update: The Council on Criminal Justice Reform unanimously approved a preliminary recommendation to “Ban the Box” on Georgia state government job applications during its Wednesday, December 18 meeting.  Exceptions to “Ban the Box” would include public safety positions and any job in which a felony conviction is an automatic disqualification.  The Council will vote to approve its final report in early January.  Recommendations would require legislation during the 2014 General Assembly.  By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Should Georgia become the eleventh state to “Ban the Box?”  You could be excused for asking, what box?  “The Box” on many public and private sector employment applications asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”  On the… View Article
(This article is an excerpt of a presentation made by the author this week to Georgia justice system stakeholders who engage offenders before, during and after incarceration.  Stakeholders included representatives of justice, behavioral, housing, employment and other state agencies.) By Dennis  M. Schrantz DENNIS M. SCHRANTZ Trying to reduce crime, reducing the number of victims, that is what’s at the heart of this work.  Every time we talk about re-entry we need to focus on the brass ring, crime reduction. We’re not eliminating crime; we’re reducing crime.  We’re not eliminating people returning to prison; we’re reducing the number of people returning to prison. We’re doing that because it reduces the number of victims we have.  Who’s against reducing the number… View Article

Tearing Down Invisible Prison Walls Created by Poverty

By MIKE KLEIN MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Prisons do not need walls.  High unemployment, low education, blight, depression, desperation and deprivation can become easy substitutes for bricks and mortar.   Simply because someone completes time inside prison walls going home does not guarantee new hope and a new life. Ex-offenders often return to “some of the poorest neighborhoods and urban centers and rural towns throughout America and the city of Griffin in Spalding County, Georgia is no exception,” said Theo Harris when he recently addressed the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.  Harris wears many hats in his community, among them, member of the Griffin-Spalding Reentry Task Force. Standing before a large mural filled with multi-colored stick pins, Harris… View Article
By Mike Klein MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation One by one they came to the podium; the convicted murderer who served 25 years in state prison; the long-term addict who turned to drugs after relatives sexually abused her when she was less than ten years old; the former elected official who took money under the table and when his scheme unraveled, he went away to the federal Big House.  One by one, they came to the podium with nearly the same message:  If you want to rehabilitate someone, start early. “It is impossible to let a person go five-to-six years in prison and expect that person to rehabilitate himself and begin that process six months before you come home,”… View Article

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