Category: Crime

By Mike Klein Georgia launched the fourth year of criminal justice reform this week with a commitment to aggressively push forward with its new prisoner reentry initiative.  Part of the strategy is recognition you must get the message right so folks understand what you are doing. “Our primary message is that public safety is the number one goal, THE number one goal,” said Jay Neal, executive director at the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Reentry.  Neal spoke to the Criminal Justice Reform Council for nearly an hour when it met Monday at the state capitol in Atlanta. Neal described five federal implementation grants that the state is seeking and he discussed mission and vision for the Georgia Prisoner Reentry… View Article
By Mike Klein Georgia is seeking several million dollars to implement the state’s prisoner reentry initiative which is the third leg in comprehensive adult and juvenile justice reforms begun three years ago.  The basic framework for five grant submissions was approved when the Criminal Justice Reform Council met Monday morning at the state capitol in Atlanta.  Fully funded, the grants would bring $6.75 million to Georgia over three years.  All five grants would be through the Bureau of Justice Assistance which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.  The final documents are still works-in-progress but all five grants have submission deadlines either later this month or in early June.  The five grants were presented  to the Council by Jay… View Article
By Mike Klein Look at the little boy whose picture is on TIME magazine.  Sixteen years ago five-year-old Terrell Peterson was murdered by his grandmother and aunt.  Rather than love and care for the boy they killed him. Now look at the photo of the happy little girl. Last fall ten-year-old Emani Moss’s emaciated and burned body was found in a Gwinnett County dumpster after she was allegedly murdered by her father and stepmother.  Rather than love and care for Emani prosecutors say they killed her. Terrell and Emani experienced unspeakable horror before death. Their cases share another common factor. In both cases state child protective services officials had been warned, failed to take action and even started a cover-up… View Article
Tuesday, March 18 Update: The Georgia House has passed Senate Bill 365, which is one of two criminal justice reform bills on the calendar. The vote was 164-to-2. The bill is based in part on Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommendations.  SB 365 was amended on the House floor to add language from House Bill 923 that would move the state’s Child Fatality Review Board from the Child Advocate’s Office to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. HB 923 died in a Senate committee last week. As the bill was changed on the House floor, it requires Senate reconsideration. SB 364 is the other criminal justice bill still awaiting a House vote. By MIKE KLEIN Monday afternoon the House… View Article

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

By Benita M. 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 enforcement. Why?… View Article

GA House Passes Interstate Compact for Juveniles Bill

By Mike Klein 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 Georgia rejoin the IJC in January. … 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 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 reforms. Civil forfeiture is the concept… View Article

Georgia Poised to Rejoin Interstate Compact for Juveniles

By Mike Klein 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 justice reform, said Clayton County Juvenile… View Article
(Click on YouTube links to watch Council on Criminal Justice Reform segments.) By Mike Klein 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 that information is provided to employers… View Article

To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.

The late W. H. Flowers, Jr., Chairman, Flowers industries, Inc. more quotes