Category: Crime

Published May 3, 2013 By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation One of the primary architects of the special council recommendations that became the basis for this year’s juvenile justice reform legislation says the primary reason that thousands of juveniles enter the legal system each year is because they come from dysfunctional families. “Most of the kids we’re seeing today in most courts are kids in which we have broken families, most of them have single parents, most of those are mothers and there are poor or very weak problem solving skills, not just among the young people but also their parents,” Clayton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steven Teske told the Georgia Public Policy Foundation this week.… View Article
Published May 1, 2013 By Mike Klein Mike Klein, EditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia’s next justice reform priorities will start with expanded digital learning in juvenile sectors and increased focus on transitioning paroled adult inmates back into society with more than a few bucks and a bus ticket.  Governor Nathan Deal discussed these priorities during an Atlanta speech on Tuesday, two days before he is scheduled to sign juvenile justice reform legislation. Deal said the state will partner with Provost Academy Georgia to provide digital learning resources to juveniles, starting with some 140 who participate in the Georgia National Guard Youth Challenge programs at Fort Gordon near Augusta and Fort Stewart in Hinesville. “These are young men and women who… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, EditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Governor Nathan Deal on Thursday signed an adult criminal justice reform bill that revises minimum mandatory sentencing laws, expands the state’s right to evidence appeals and creates a new Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Commission that will remain on-the-watch until 2023.  In sum, the state will continue to consider criminal justice best practices for another ten years. The House Bill 349 signing ceremony was held in Marietta where Deal said, “When I first became Governor I was concerned about something that I was told Republicans shouldn’t really be concerned about and that was the fact that we were the tenth largest state in population but that we had the fourth largest prison… View Article

Georgia Can Lead Again on Juvenile Justice Reform

By Newt Gingrich and Kelly McCutchen Newt Gingrich Kelly McCutchen Years of profound dysfunction in Washington have eroded Americans’ confidence in government. Our national leaders have lost virtually all their credibility when it comes to addressing society’s most pressing challenges. Fortunately, just as our Founders intended, states are increasingly finding innovative policy solutions for many of these problems. Can you imagine Congress ever accomplishing such a feat? Now Georgia has the opportunity to apply those same conservative convictions to its juvenile justice system by adopting the recommendations of the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform.  After months of research last year, the bipartisan Council produced proposals that will stop wasteful government spending and help more of Georgia’s young offenders fulfill… View Article
  Albert Woodard By Albert Woodard The campaign in Georgia and in many states for adult and juvenile criminal justice reform has highlighted an alarming trend: Women represent a small portion of the prison population but their numbers are rising rapidly, with serious consequences for the children and communities they leave behind. The number of women incarcerated in the United States since 1990 has jumped an astounding 92 percent and shows no sign of receding. In fact, according to a recent study at the Northeastern College of Criminal Justice, prison rates for women are increasing faster than for men. The reasons for this increase are numerous, ranging from their historical offenses of larceny, forgery, embezzlement and prostitution, as well as… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, EditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Georgians appear ready to embrace juvenile justice reforms that would focus the state’s lock-ups on higher-level offenders and put new emphasis on less expensive and more effective community resources for lower-level offenders.  And by Georgians, we mean folks out there in the real world, well beyond the State Capitol in Atlanta. A newly released poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project found proposed reforms in HB 242 enjoy widespread support among conservatives, liberals and independents.  The bill would enact recommendations from the 2012 Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform. HB 242 is scheduled for its first Senate hearing on… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, EditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation The Georgia House voted 173 – 0 Thursday morning to pass juvenile justice and civil code reforms that would dramatically change our response to young people who commit crimes, run away,  violate probation or who are in desperate need of services.  HB 242, the biggest rethink in Georgia juvenile strategies in decades, is a massive 244-page bill that would rewrite juvenile justice and civil code.  Now the bill moves to the Senate.  (Watch the House floor discussion and vote.) Friday the House is scheduled to vote on HB 349, companion legislation for the adult system that would change the minimum mandatory sentencing laws for drug trafficking and other serious felony… View Article

New Criminal Justice Reform Council Proposed Through 2023

By Mike Klein Mike Klein, EditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia would establish an ongoing criminal justice reform council to oversee adult and juvenile justice issues in the state as part of proposed sentencing and corrections legislation being considered by policymakers this session. In addition, adult criminal court judges would be allowed to depart from minimum mandatory sentences in a significantly small number of drug trafficking cases under legislation now before a House committee.  Many of the provisions in  HB 349, now before a House committee, were developed by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform.  The Special Council’s juvenile justice recommendations are contained in HB 242. This week will be important for both pieces of legislation.  Tuesday afternoon,… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, EditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Georgians will need a comfy couch, lots of time and perhaps some caffeine when they begin to read newly introduced juvenile justice and civil code legislation.  Juvenile justice provisions in  House Bill 242 include a proposal to completely revise the state’s 32-year-old juvenile Designated Felony Act, a long overdue step forward, by creating two classes of more and less serious juvenile felony crimes. Juvenile civil code revisions would update laws that govern how juvenile courts operate and the rights of minors in custody and other situations.  The legislation is a comfy couch read at 244 pages.  The juvenile justice sections closely follow the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommendations,… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein declared the state is at a “crossroads in juvenile justice history” and challenged the General Assembly to expand mental health services for “clearly disturbed youngsters” during her final State of the Judiciary address, telling lawmakers, “We wait for the explosion and it will come” unless courts have more resources for dealing with juveniles who are clearly at risk to themselves and others. Hunstein delivered her final State of the Judiciary Address to the General Assembly Thursday morning in Atlanta.  Her term as Chief Justice expires later this year.  Hunstein devoted a major section of her remarks to adult and juvenile justice system reforms. … View Article

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