Category: Crime

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

New Deal for Georgia Criminal Justice

By Marc A. Levin Georgia’s Governor-elect Nathan Deal has earned his stripes as a tough-as-nails prosecutor who rightly noted on the campaign trail that he put many rapists in prison where they belong. At the same time, prosecutors in Georgia and around the nation also see up close the many low-level, nonviolent offenders who cycle through the system. In Texas, which is similarly known for its law and order approach, one impetus for the successful reforms over the last several years was the prosecutors and judges who told lawmakers that they were reluctantly sending many low-level, nonviolent offenders to prisons who were not a danger to public safety and could succeed in the right community corrections program. Their problem, they… View Article

Agenda 2005: A Guide to the Issues

Crime Agenda Remove the state’s gag rule on local crime statistics Adopt “truth in sentencing” for all crimes so that the public knows exactly what percentage of a prisoner’s sentence will be served Consider more cost-effective alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders Focus local law enforcement on deterring, rather than reacting to crime Modify the Georgia Charter School Law to support the successful Youth Challenge Academy for high school dropouts Facts General Crime Mirroring the downward trend nationally in crime rates, Georgia’s crime rate has dropped for the past three years and now stands at 45 per 1,000 residents. Georgia’s crime rate is lower than many of its neighbors, including Florida at 54, North Carolina at 47, South Carolina at… View Article
By Michael Light Director, Georgia Parole Board Office of Criminal Justice Research The following article is reprinted with permission from the March 1999 edition of Georgia County Government Magazine, published by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the 85-year-old education, training and legislative advocacy organization of all 159 Georgia county governments. ACCG may be reached on the Web or by writing 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1000, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Today, Georgia stands at a crossroads in its criminal justice history where policymakers and lawmakers must pay careful attention to the thin line between tough laws and smart criminal justice decisions. Over the last ten years Georgia has spent billions to build thousands of new “hard” prison beds while enacting some… View Article
Randall W. Duncan, Esq.; John C. Speir, Ph.D.; Tammy S. Meredith, Ph.D. This report demonstrates the value of such research, and the policy questions that can arise from a rational and thorough debate of the many issues emanating from the current controversy. Time is of the essence. Even as the Georgia criminal justice system is showing symptoms of stress during the “best of times” (low unemployment, budget surplus, growing economy, strong tax base), the state is facing specific demo- graphic trends. In particular, the projected population “bulge” of youth in the next ten years, especially those in economically disadvantaged groups, could turn the current decline in crime and threaten the system with another corrections crisis. If an increase in crime… View Article

Obstruction of Justice: The State Crime Lab in Crisis

By Joe D. Whitley, Daniel J. Adamson In today’s atmosphere of political pragmatism and fiscal responsibility, few people see government as a cure-all for society’s ills; instead, our elected officials increasingly look for solutions in partnerships with the private sector. One such private-sector partnership should be considered as a means to improve the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) State Crime Lab. Founded nearly forty years ago as the second statewide forensics facility in the nation, our crime lab was once a leader in the field. Today, however, it is a prime example of a facility in need of massive reform. Georgia’s crime lab is plagued by neglect, an ever-increasing caseload, and problems resulting from changes in the nature and investigation… 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.)

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