Category: Crime

By Mike Klein Mike KleinEditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Each year Georgia law enforcement seizes millions of dollars in personal property from people who were never charged with or convicted of a crime.  There was merely the suspicion that a crime had been committed, and that the property might somehow be connected to the crime that never happened. The story gets worse for property owners.  Georgia state law permits law enforcement agencies to sell the property and keep the proceeds.  The exact annual dollar value of these seizures and sales is unknown because law enforcement agencies have largely failed to file required reports. This is what the Institute for Justice  (IJ) said about Georgia civil asset forfeiture policies in a new… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Discussion about mental health and other substance abuse treatment alternatives was front and center Wednesday when criminal justice system officials addressed House and Senate joint appropriations lawmakers at the State Capitol.  “Mental health is a huge issue in all the things we do,” Judge Robin W. Shearer said on behalf of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges. Georgia is in the early stages of significant adult and juvenile justice system reforms that focus on how to ensure incarceration for the most serious offenders, and how to provide community treatment options for offenders who do not benefit from or even require incarceration. Last year the General Assembly passed reforms to move… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia would establish a two-tiered system for felonies committed by juveniles younger than 18 years old if the 2013 General Assembly adopts recommendations unanimously approved Thursday morning by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform   As currently written, it builds on principles similar to adult criminal justice system reforms enacted this year. The Special Council final report will be released on Governor Nathan Deal’s website next week.  It also contains a small number of adult system proposals.  Notably, the Council repeated its 2011 recommendation that judges be allowed to depart from mandatory sentence minimums in some drug trafficking cases and under specific circumstances.  Drug convictions are largely responsible for the… View Article
By Mike Klein Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation What you are about to read is a big deal:  Georgia has significantly reduced the number of state custody male inmates sitting in local county jails.  Georgia corrections commissioner Brian Owens made the announcement this week during a Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform meeting in Forsyth.  His comment so surprised judges, legislators, prosecutors and others that several let out a huge gasp. “As a result of the legislation and your recommendations, today we have zero males … zero males … in county jails waiting to come into the state system,” Owens said.  “We have about 200 females but we’re going to address that come January and February.  We’ll be… View Article

End of an Era: Georgia Begins to Close Parole Offices

By Mike Klein Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Georgia is moving quickly toward the end of an era as parole offices are being closed at a pace that will see most of them completely shuttered within the next calendar year.  A handful already are closed, about another dozen will close within weeks and the remainder will close as the state moves away from real estate toward reliance on parole officer-friendly remote technology. “The day of the parolee reporting to a parole office is long gone,” said Michael Nail, executive director of the state board of Pardons and Paroles.  Virtual offices – two-man parole teams in vehicles – will replace real estate.  “Our officers will be in the community… View Article
Atlanta Two weeks after releasing its Issue Analysis on criminal justice reform for adults, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation today released “Five Essential Principles for Georgia’s Juvenile Justice System,” a new Issue Analysis that focuses on how Georgia policy-makers can enhance and improve the way the state deals with juvenile offenders. The Issue Analysis was written by Jeanette Moll, a juvenile justice policy analyst in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Kelly McCutchen, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The two organizations are sister think tanks. The Issue Analysis discusses how rewriting the Georgia’s juvenile justice statutes can improve the chances of nearly 50,000 youths in the system… View Article
By Jeanette Moll and Kelly McCutchen Like many of their colleagues across the country, Georgia policy-makers are taking an increasingly close look at their criminal justice system. In search of both increased effectiveness as well as cost savings, policy-makers now have an ideal opportunity to evaluate and improve the correctional system. An essential part of that review must include that portion of the justice system which oversees juvenile delinquents. View the study here: http://www.georgiapolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/120228IAJuvenileJustice.pdf View Article
PDF version of Issue Analysis: Peach State Criminal Justice: Controlling Costs, Protecting the Public Issue Analysis  Peach State Criminal Justice: Controlling Costs, Protecting the Public  By Marc A. Levin and Vikrant P. Reddy[1]  Introduction  Georgia has struggled to identify polices that properly differentiate between high-risk, violent offenders and lower-risk, nonviolent offenders. Though Georgia’s response to a nonviolent crime has often been to incarcerate, increasing prison populations and costs have led many to question whether probation or diversion to drug or mental health treatment may be better for public safety, better for taxpayers and even better for the offender. That was the conclusion reached in November 2011 by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians (“the Council”), a… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Atlanta resident Josiah Neff is so passionate about civil asset forfeiture reform in Georgia that last year he filed suit. One of five plaintiffs in a lawsuit against law enforcement agencies in Atlanta and Fulton County, the software company employee was outraged that the agencies didn’t even bother to comply with state law requiring them to disclose the private property they seized under suspicion that it was used or involved in criminal activity. Three months later, when the suit went to trial, it took the judge just 30 minutes to rule the agencies out of compliance. But the victory for Neff, who currently heads Atlanta’s Libertarian Party, is hollow for the rest of Georgia: As of… View Article

Tough on Crime, Smart on Criminal Justice Spending

By Kelly McCutchen Georgia’s prison population has grown 35 percent over the last decade and is projected to continue growing over the next five years.  Public safety is bolstered when offenders who are violent, dangerous or career criminals are put behind bars, but too often lower-level offenders emerge from prison as more hardened criminals. Unfortunately, about two-thirds of those admitted to prison in Georgia have been convicted of a non-violent offense.  The “lock ’em up and throw away the key” approach has failed this state:  The streets aren’t necessarily safer by locking up low-risk, nonviolent offenders. The state spends over $1 billion annually on corrections, yet nearly 35 percent of inmates released return to custody within three years. The problem… View Article

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