Tag: Criminal Justice

Education is Key to Redeeming Lives in Prison

By Gerard Robinson and Van Jones Every year, more than 650,000 men and women leave prison and return home to communities across America. They are often released with little more than some spare change, a bus ticket and a criminal record that bars access to some of their most basic rights and privileges. Facing deep social stigma, many returning citizens feel as though they have left the grips of a physical prison only to find themselves engulfed in a new, social prison. It is tragic but not surprising that 50-75 percent of them end up incarcerated again within five years. In today’s knowledge economy, higher education is one of the first rungs on the ladder to economic freedom and social… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Criminal Justice

Principles: Public safety is a core responsibility of government. A well-functioning criminal justice system enforces order and respect for every person’s right to property and life, and ensures that liberty does not lead to license. As with any government program, the criminal justice system must be transparent and include performance measures that hold it accountable for its results in protecting the public, lowering crime rates, reducing re-offending, collecting victim restitution and conserving taxpayers’ money. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through harnessing the power of families, charities, faith-based groups, and communities. Criminal prosecution should be reserved for conduct that is either blameworthy or threatens public safety, not wielded to grow government… View Article

Don’t Train Kids to be Felons in Adult Jails

By Newt Gingrich and Pat Nolan The noted “tough on crime” criminologist John Dilulio once commented that “jailing youth with adult felons under Spartan conditions will merely produce more street gladiators.” Louisiana should heed Dilulio’s caution against locking up young petty criminals alongside violent adult criminals. The Bayou State is one of only nine states that prosecutes 17-year-olds as adults, often for the most minor of crimes (stealing a bag of potato chips, for instance). We all can agree that breaking the law is wrong and that these teens deserve to face consequences for their actions. But tossing them into adult jails with hardened criminals just makes those bad situations worse. The research and data are clear: Adult jails are… View Article
The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform has released its 2016 Report, which provides a summary of progress to date and a list of recommendations. Below are excerpts from the report’s executive summary. It is often said that the states are our laboratories of democracy. With criminal justice reform, this is undeniably true. Over the past decade, more than two dozen states have enacted significant reforms to their sentencing and correctional systems, changes that have improved public safety while holding offenders accountable and reducing taxpayer costs. Unlike so many policy issues in America today, criminal justice reform has been embraced with overwhelming bipartisan support. As 2016 begins, Congress and President Obama are acknowledging the substantial progress unfolding in the… View Article

Friday Facts January 15, 2016

It’s Friday! Then and Now Did you know? In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, Gov. Zell Miller led the Legislature to approve a lottery for Georgia, with proceeds funding special programs, including his HOPE Scholarship for college and technical-school students, pre-K programs and educational technology. This week, the nation saw the highest PowerBall jackpot ever: $1.6 billion.  Events January 27: Georgia State Sen. Hunter Hill, State Rep. Mike Dudgeon and education innovator Mike Davis are panelists at the Foundation’s annual National School Choice Week celebration. Register now for, “Georgia Education: Reforms and Recommendations,” a Leadership Breakfast 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 27 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. This panel discussion is open to… View Article
The Heritage Foundation has produced a helpful factsheet that explains civil asset forfeiture. No. 4, especially, stands out: 4. What if I’m innocent? Surely, innocent people can’t have their property taken. Being innocent does not mean that a state has to return your property. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the “innocent owner” defense is not constitutionally required. Furthermore, even in states where you do have an innocent owner defense, the burden is typically on you. Your property is presumed to be guilty until you prove that you are innocent and that your property therefore should not be forfeited. In other words, you must prove (1) that you were not involved in criminal activity and (2)… View Article
Georgia’s successful criminal justice reforms were highlighted recently at an event in Atlanta hosted by the Charles Koch Institute. Enea Gjoza and Ewan Watt of the Charles Koch Institute highlighted Georgia’s efforts in an article published by InsiderAdvantage, “Georgia Sketching Out a Path to Criminal Justice Reform.” Some highlights: In just five years Georgia has seen its adult prison population fall from approximately 60,000 inmates to 53,000. This has largely been the result of community-based initiatives that assess and divert non-violent offenders into the programs best placed to aid rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. In the past, jails and prisons were often used as depositories for individuals who posed no physical threat to others, resulting in severe overcrowding. For… View Article

Astonishing Early Results from GA Juvenile Justice Reform

MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Mike Klein Buoyed by freshly funded incarceration alternatives, Georgia reduced new juvenile justice detention commitments by an astonishing 62 percent during the nine month period that ended in June. As a result, the average daily secure population rate is also trending down as is the length of time juveniles are waiting for a detention center placement. “While it’s still early, we feel great about where we are,” Department of Juvenile Justice assistant deputy commissioner Joe Vignati told the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform on Tuesday morning. This was the Council’s first meeting since May although several committees met during the summer. DJJ Deputy Commissioner Carl Brown led off with an historical overview… View Article
MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Mike Klein “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Anyone of a certain generation – yeah, that would be my generation – will recognize that famous line from “Cool Hand Luke,” the 1967 film about southern prison warden Strother Martin and his young prisoner Paul Newman. Eight little words strung together became one of the most famous lines ever spoken in American film history. “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate” could also describe the failure by thirteen states to measure juvenile recidivism, including three of Georgia’s southern neighbors.  Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky do not measure and report juvenile recidivism rates. Therefore, they do not have cumulative data about how often… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.

Former Georgia Senate Minority Leader Chuck Clay more quotes