Category: The Forum

Originally published June 20, 2011 Georgia will test a new model that could result in more effective supervision of high-risk parolees because less time would be required for low-risk parolees.  In July the state will begin a three-month telephone reporting pilot project and the initiative could be expanded statewide. “The parolee population is increasing,” said Jay Lacienski, director of field operations at the state Board of Pardons and Parole.  “When you have an ever increasing (parolee) population and a stable parole officer population, you better figure out how to handle that.” Georgia’s pilot project will move 1,300 low-risk parolees into a voice recognition system developed by a Georgia-based outside contractor.  Face-to-face visits with a parole officer will be replaced… View Article

Myth Busters #1: Roemer’s Law

If you ask anyone who has studied health economics or health policy in the last 40 years, “what is Roemer’s Law?” they will each be able to tell you in an instant — “that means a built bed is a filled bed.” Milton Roemer, MD, was a researcher and professor, mostly at UCLA, who spent a lifetime (he died in 2001) advocating for national health systems around the world. He was involved in creating the World Health Organization in 1951 and Saskatchewan’s provincial single payer system in 1953. His “law” was based on a single study he did in 1959 that found a correlation between the number of hospital beds per person and the rate of hospital days used per… View Article

$7 million per household for broadband?!

A new study criticizes the Broadband Initiatives Program (funded by the 2009 federal stimulus plan) for subsidizing the construction of duplicative broadband networks and imposing high costs on taxpayers while placing private sector providers at a competitive disadvantage. Nick Schulz, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in Forbes:  “No one is against expanded access to broadband. And in rural areas especially, where there might be less market incentive to provide access, maybe there’s a role for government to play. The question for prudent policymakers is how much such a project should cost and who should bear the cost. Surely there is some price that’s too high to justify expanding access.” Discussing the findings, Schulz says, “So how… View Article
Originally published April 26, 2011 County and city jail populations have declined nationally for two consecutive years, according to just published data from the U.S. Justice Department, but newer state data shows the Atlanta Fulton County jail is once again busting at the seams and operating beyond its capacity. The federal government’s annual survey reported 2009 to 2010 local jail population changes were just the second decline since the report began in 1982. The survey tracks almost three-quarter million men and women who are incarcerated somewhere other than state or federal penitentiaries. Five Georgia county jail systems were named in the report. The DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics reported local jail inmates were 748,728 on June 30, 2010, down 2.4%… View Article
Originally published April 18, 2011 Georgia lawmakers introduced 945 bills this year.  One that passed will fast track review of the state’s $1 billion per year corrections system costs with a concentration on how to reduce existing state prison populations and slow their growth without impacting public safety. So many Georgia adults are under state corrections system jurisdiction that their number would fill the Georgia Dome three times.  Or if you are a University of Georgia Bulldogs fan …that would be two sold out Sanford Stadiums and 40,000 more folks tailgating. The state’s new criminal justice reform commission will no doubt find an important resource in a new study released by the Pew Center on the States. “State of Recidivism:… View Article
Originally published February 17, 2011 Georgia will consider alternatives to incarceration of adult non-violent offenders in a sweeping criminal justice review announced Wednesday afternoon by Governor Nathan Deal.  Reforms could include expanded drug, DUI and mental health courts, changes to sentencing laws, and alternatives to technical parole violations. The governor announced the review at a capitol news conference.  “Make no mistake.  While this effort should ultimately uncover strategies that will save taxpayer dollars, first and foremost we are attacking the human cost of a society with too much crime, too many people behind bars, too many children growing up without a much needed parent and too many wasted lives.” Deal stood with an historic coalition of executive, judicial and legislative… View Article
Originally published December 12, 2010 Georgia has a significant corrections system challenge and there’s no getting around that fact.  Nationally one in every 100 adults is behind state prison or local jail bars but the number is one in every 70 Georgia adults.  Nationally one in every 31 adults is in prison or jail, on probation or on parole but the comparable number is one in every 13 Georgia adults, worst in the nation. “It’s really something else that this state is number one, if you will, when it comes to the extent of correctional control of its citizens,” said  Adam Gelb, current director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States and formerly,… View Article
Originally published April 21, 2010 Each day across Georgia, the state Department of Corrections prepares three meals per day to feed a population that is nearly equal to the number of residents living in Marietta.  It takes thousands of pounds of food to feed nearly 60,000 adult prisoners.  Paying for all that food served at 31 state prisons costs taxpayers $1 billion per year, including the cost to manage 150,000 parolees. This month the PEW Center on the States reported the first year-to-year drop in state prison population since 1972.   The percentage rate began to decline in 2007, but real numbers did not decline until last year.  Unfortunately, not in Georgia which posted the sixth largest percentage increase in the… View Article

What Difference Has RomneyCare Made?

Most conservative critics of the Massachusetts health reform have focused on any piece of bad news about the program they can find. After all, if this is the model for the federal legislation everyone calls “ObamaCare” it’s got to have a lot of defects. Right? Not so fast. The real story coming out of Massachusetts is that the whole thing is a yawner. Health reform in the Bay State has been mainly about money: who writes the checks and who cashes them. That shouldn’t be a surprise. That’s usually what health reform is about. But what about the effect on patients? As it turns out, there has been very little change at all. Does that mean that health reform at… View Article
Former Atlanta Public Schools board chairman Khaatim S. El released a lengthy statement Monday evening after his resignation from the APS board.  El presided over the board during its most controversial hours when the board itself was largely considered dysfunctional and the city found itself under a national microscope for one of the worst test cheating scandals on record.  Here is the complete text of the former board chairman’s statement: “Dear neighbor and friend, “I struggled tonight at the Board meeting to find the words to express how I feel. I take no solace in knowing that my beliefs have been confirmed by the recent report issues by the State of Georgia.  But in the end, whether right or wrong,… View Article

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes