Category: Crime

Published May 1, 2013 By Mike Klein 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 are on the verge of being… View Article
By Mike Klein 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 population. “We had had a ‘tough… View Article

Georgia Can Lead Again on Juvenile Justice Reform

By Newt Gingrich and 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 their promise to lead… View Article
  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 crimes involving… View Article
By Mike Klein 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 Wednesday; it unanimously passed the House.… View Article
By Mike Klein 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 crimes.  The bill would also create… View Article

New Criminal Justice Reform Council Proposed Through 2023

By Mike Klein 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, the House Judiciary committee members voted… View Article
By Mike Klein 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, which were released in December.  Civil… View Article
By Mike Klein 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.  Legislators enacted the start of adult reforms… View Article
By Mike Klein 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 report released Wednesday: “Georgia’s civil… View Article

I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation.  For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work.  As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature.  We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us.  To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)

Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones more quotes