What We’re Watching at the Capitol

Updates on criminal justice reform and foster care at the State Capitol

Friday Facts: April 26, 2013

Oxycodone and oxymorons: Government efficiency does not appear to exist when it comes to drug abuse prevention and treatment programs

Friday Facts: February 15, 2013

Georgia is poised to lead the nation in providing resources to enable personalized learning for every child.

Friday Facts: February 8, 2013

What are the odds you’ll keep your employer-sponsored health plan?

Friday Facts: January 25, 2012

What’s with the woobies? National School Choice Week 2013 begins today.

Friday Facts: December 7, 2012

In the 1970s, when the top rate on wage and salary income was 50 % and 70% on investment income, high earners spent much of their time and energy seeking tax shelters, Michael Barone points out.

Did Longer Time Served Reduce Crime or Just Cost Money?

By Mike Klein During the past five years there has been extensive discussion in Georgia and nationally about the relationship between prison costs and public safety. Texas and Kansas were the earliest states to enact reforms in 2007.  Then the recession hit, inmate counts were viewed as budget busters and other states jumped aboard the reform wagon.  Georgia passed significant new law this year and is in the earliest stages of implementation that will take years to evaluate. Most analysis here and nationally focused on the growth in state inmate … Continue Reading →

Less Time, More Treatment Possible for Low-Risk Drug Abuse

Next month the Georgia legislature will begin to consider whether substance abusers who are not a public safety risk should receive a stay out of jail card. How lawmakers decide the question could slow down runaway costs and impact state corrections policy for decades. Last month the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform said options – notably, more drug courts and treatment plus more day reporting centers — could reduce state prison population growth.  Drug courts are part of an accountability sentencing movement that includes mental health courts and veterans’ … Continue Reading →

Waiting for Georgia Corrections Reform Recommendations …

Sometime soon – maybe this week – Georgians will get their first glimpse at adult corrections reform ideas that are essential to restore fiscal sanity to runaway costs, maintain appropriate punishment for the crime and do both without sacrificing public safety.  That’s a tall order. A special council on criminal justice reform report that was due to Governor Nathan Deal on November 1st is still not public two weeks later.  The date is less important than whether the council report contains recommendations that can be embraced by legislators during an … Continue Reading →

Is Juvenile Justice the Missing Link in Corrections Reform?

Golfers love being on the leader board.  Corrections officials, not so much as there is nothing to celebrate about Georgia being the national leader with the highest percentage of its adults under corrections system supervision.  The ratio is 1-in-13 and it is the worst in the country. Not only does it cost lots of money – more than $1 billion per year in state dollars to run prisons – but lofty incarceration, probation and parole statistics send the wrong message nationally and internationally when Georgia tries to market itself as … Continue Reading →

Corrections Reform Will Focus on Sentencing Alternatives

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 … Continue Reading →

U.S. Justice Says Local Jail Populations Decline Nationally

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 … Continue Reading →