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PUBLICATIONS

Georgia

In, Georgia, 1 in 13 adults is under some form of correctional control: either on probation or parole, or behind bars.i This is the highest rate in the nation – the national average is 1 in 31.ii About 1 in 70 Georgia adults are behind bars. Georgia spends more than $1 billion per year on its prison system that houses approximately 53,000 inmates.iii Corrections costs have grown five-fold since 1985.iv Longer sentences have driven Georgia’s prison growth. For instance, the average inmate released in 2009 on a drug possession charge spent 21 months locked up, compared with 10 months in 1990.v

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) says his colleagues need to take a closer look at the cost-effectiveness of their programs, stating: “I don’t think we ought to let public safety depend on getting a bargain basement price, but I think we do have to be conscious of the cost of incarceration.” He added, “I think the dialogue has already started.”

Ralston notes that he is a strong supporter of Georgia’s drug courts, an accountability and treatment approach for substance abuse offenders overseen by a judge.vi He said that cops and prosecutors tell him Georgia needs more discretion in the courtroom and more alternatives to prison.vii

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich urged Georgia policymakers to make improvements in the state’s corrections system in a March 2010 op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution co-authored with former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, stating in part:

“If two-thirds of public school students dropped out, or two-thirds of all bridges built collapsed within three years, would citizens tolerate it? The people of Georgia would never stand for that kind of failure. But that is exactly what is happening all across the U.S. in our prison systems. Last year, some 20,000 people were released from Georgia’s prisons to re-enter our communities. If trends of the past decade continue, two-thirds of them will be rearrested within three years. That failure rate is a clear and present threat to public safety. Not only is this revolving door a threat to public safety, but it results in an increasing burden on each and every taxpayer.”viii

In 2012, Georgia tackled these challenges by passing a major reform package. The package prioritizes Georgia’s limited prison space for the most serious offenders by creating a new system of graduated sanctions for burglary, forgery, theft, and simple drug possession. Low-level, first time offenders are punished using community supervision alternatives, and prison space is reserved for more serious and habitual offenders. The reform package also improved probation by, among other things, strengthening the state’s drug treatment programs, accountability courts, and electronic monitoring. The package also improves data collection so that the state may better measure the performance of the criminal justice system. The bill, HB 1176, passed both chambers unanimously (162-0 in the House, 51-0 in the Senate), and was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on May 2, 2012.

GPPF on juvenile justice

Right on Crime | January 2, 2014
In his article “Broken Families, Parents Without Skills, Kids in Juvenile Justice,” Mike Klein discusses juvenile justice reform in Georgia. The article can be viewed here.

GPPF: Framework Established for 2014 Criminal Justice Reform

Right on Crime | December 20, 2013
Georgia would “Ban the Box” and take a deeper dive into return-to-prison recidivism rates under two preliminary recommendations approved this week by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform. …

Georgia Public Policy Foundation on reforming the criminal justice system

Right on Crime | December 10, 2013
In this article, GPPF discusses the significance of offender rehabilitation, quoting convicted murderer Aakeem Woodard. “It is impossible to let a person go five-to-six years in prison and expect…

State criminal justice reforms in action

Right on Crime | October 17, 2013
This new ROC infographic gives the facts about criminal justice in Texas and proves that our reforms are effective. Check out the infographic below and and click here to…

Vikrant Reddy: “Three myths about conservatives and criminal justice”

Right on Crime | October 11, 2013
Vikrant Reddy details 3 myths about conservatives and criminal justice – and proves why they aren’t true. Read the whole article here.

James Madison Institute “A Tale of Two States”

Right on Crime | October 2, 2013
On September 24, The James Madison Institute hosted a forum in partnership with The Florida State University’s Project on Accountable Justice and St. Petersburg College Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to…

Fox News: “Conservatives join push to roll back mandatory prison sentences”

Right on Crime | September 30, 2013
Following Marc Levin’s testimony before the U.S. Judiciary Committee, this Fox News story features Right on Crime, noting that “The project has since been part of recent, successful efforts…

Norquist-Gleason: Holder follows GOP lead in easing harsh drug laws

Right on Crime | September 27, 2013
ROC signatory Grover Norquist co-authors this Reuters op-ed with Patrick Gleason, in which they further discuss how U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is late to the party regarding criminal…

National Review: Not Too Soft, Not Too Hard…but just Right on Crime

Right on Crime | September 19, 2013
In this National Review article, Texas is recognized as “a state with an enlightened leadership that keenly appreciates the fact that anti-crime measures adopted during the epidemic decades from…

Reddy: Criminal justice reforms in Texas can set tone for U.S.

Right on Crime | August 23, 2013
In this Houston Chronicle op-ed, Vikrant Reddy discusses U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s criminal justice reforms, saying “This is an area where the Obama administration is following, not leading.”

NPR Weekend Edition Saturday: “What’s Wrong With Mandatory Sentencing?”

Right on Crime | August 17, 2013
Marc Levin: “[there] are better ways to [hold offenders accountable] than mandatory minimums, particularly when it comes to non-violent offenders. And we think that the attorney general is a…

Right on Crime in United Liberty

Right on Crime | August 13, 2013
Marc Levin: “It’s good to see the Administration following the lead of conservative states such as Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia that have proven it’s possible to reduce crime…
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