Category: Crime

2018 Victories: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

By Kyle Wingfield As 2018 dashes away like Donner and Blitzen, many Georgians will remember it as a year of major political transition. But 2018 also brought some substantial improvements to Georgians’ lives through better policy, much of it championed by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The year began with a bit of a hangover from 2017: The tax reform that Congress passed late last year, though beneficial for your federal tax bill, threatened to raise your state taxes if unaddressed. Thankfully, legislators didn’t drop the ball. They set in motion a series of changes that will shield more of Georgians’ income from the state income tax and, for the first time in our state’s history, lower the top marginal… View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release December 20, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Foundation President Kyle Wingfield Commends Congress on FIRST STEP Act Atlanta –  Bipartisan passage this week of the FIRST STEP Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, is a feather in the cap of outgoing Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the Georgia General Assembly, and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. “Congressman Collins was inspired to lead this effort among his colleagues for federal criminal justice reform legislation based on the huge successes in Georgia, where phased-in state reforms have saved lives, families, communities and money,” said Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. “Governor Deal’s unwavering leadership in this state over his two… View Article
Reporter Newspapers published an op-ed on October 26, 2018, solicited from Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: ‘Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem.’  Access the op-ed online at  www.reporternewspapers.net/2018/10/26/commentary-marsys-law-is-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem/; the op-ed is reprinted below in its entirety. The Nov. 6 ballot includes, as Question 4, a proposed state constitutional amendment that “provides rights for victims of crime in the judicial process.” The Reporter Newspapers asked two advocates to explain the pro and con arguments on the question, which is commonly known as “Marsy’s Law.” For the commentary supporting the amendment, click here. Commentary: ‘Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem’ By Benita Dodd November ballots… View Article

FBI Releases 2017 Uniform Crime Report

(September 24, 2018): The FBI has  released its Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2017, a compilation of the volume and rate of violent and property crime offenses for the nation and by state. In Georgia, violent crime declined 8.5 percent overall in 2017 compared to 2016, but the murder rate was up nearly 2 percent. Some Georgia details from the FBI database: Violent  crimes declined 8.5 percent Rape crimes declined 20.5 percent Robbery declined 18 percent Aggravated assault declined 2.3 percent Property crime declined 4 percent The murder rate increased 1.9 percent Among Georgia’s metro areas, Albany had the highest rates of violent crime, murder and aggravated assault. Columbus was worst for rape and robbery. Macon was worst… View Article

Council’s Misdemeanor Bail Reform Proposals

A summary of the misdemeanor bail reform findings and recommendations from the February 2018 Report of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform (pages 25-39). By Sophia Strickland The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform’s 2018 report delivered to Gov. Nathan Deal in February focused on pretrial justice, especially within misdemeanor bail practices. According to the report: An increasing amount of research is showing the negative consequences of a money-based bail system. Those people who cannot afford bail and therefore incarcerated pretrial could lose their jobs or go into further financial debt or lose their jobs, and then cannot support their families or pay the court-imposed fines or obligations. In fact, studies show that people who are released on bail,… View Article
By Sophia Strickland Reports on the United States’ rapidly increasing incarcerated population have sparked a discussion over bail reform. However, a segment that may not receive as much attention in this area is the pretrial, incarcerated rural population, which has contributed disproportionately to the increasing jailed population in the United States, according to a new report by Right On Crime. Nationwide, the jailed population increased three times its original size between 1970 and 2014  but sevenfold in small counties in the same period. The increase in this rural pretrial jailed group can be partly attributed to an economic incentive for local jails to house other jurisdictions’ inmates for remuneration and the growing opioid crisis with increased related drug arrests… View Article
By Doug Collins Georgians value justice. My father was a State Trooper for 31 years, and he helped me understand that an effective criminal justice system elevates human dignity by punishing wrongdoing, protecting victims and rehabilitating offenders. By taking this approach, our own state effected a 21 percent drop in violent crime between 2005 and 2016. State leaders, watching Georgia’s prison population more than double between 1990 and 2011, responded with meaningful changes to its justice system, including prison reform.   Some prisoners have records that scare us; they should remain safely behind bars. Others have made mistakes they can pay for and recover from. Prison reform is structured to help these individuals redeem themselves, and the lower crime rates… View Article
By Kyle Wingfield Lots of things die at the end of a legislative session: bills, constitutional amendments, one’s faith in humanity (just kidding about that last one – mostly). Some of what doesn’t survive is not to be regretted; some is. Rarely do lawmakers stand by as an effective entity fades into the sunset. But there was one such case this year. The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform was created in 2013 – by a law that provided for its dissolution on June 30, 2018, unless legislators voted to keep it running. They did not. So, after five years of vetting and proposing ways to make the state’s criminal justice system work smarter, the council will close less than … View Article
By Jerry Madden Criminal justice reform may wind up being the most significant conservative policy change in Washington this year. That may sound surprising to some, but not to anyone who has been watching this movement in conservative states over the last decade. Starting in Texas, conservatives of all stripes – fiscal, social, constitutional, or otherwise – have found favor with reforms to the criminal justice system that focus on increasing public safety and cutting costs to taxpayers. This is, seemingly, a very commonsense goal. But take a look at how most states and the federal government operate and you will find that well-functioning, well-focused systems are far from the norm. The results are undeniable: Texas has lowered its overall… View Article

Marsy’s Law of Unintended Consequences

By Benita M. Dodd It’s hard to fathom the depth of the pain and suffering of crime victims and families left behind. For Henry Nicholas, the experiences of his family after his sister was murdered inspired his mission to protect victims. A student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas died after being shot in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend, Kerry Conley. Marsy’s brother told The Los Angeles Times: “After the funeral service, we were driving home and stopped at a market so my mother could just run in and get a loaf of bread. And there in the checkout line was my sister’s murderer, glowering at her.” He said the family was not told the killer… View Article

Name one other organization in the state that does what the Foundation does. You can’t.

Independent survey of Georgia business leaders on the Foundation. more quotes