Georgia County Government - Fall 2013 - (Page 38)

SPECIAL FOCUS: CRIMINAL JUSTICE Where Do We Stand? One Year after Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform By Schuyler Harding Constantly assessing and seeking improvements for the well being of one’s citizens is a top priority for all government officials. They often have to consider new policy as well as changes to existing policies in a manner which will benefit everyone: the state and counties. In 2012, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law HB 1176, the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which intended to keep nonviolent low risk offenders out of prisons and, instead, place them in rehabilitative, community-based programs. The premise of such legislation was to help ensure that these individuals would 38 GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT become productive citizens who contribute to the well being of their communities. This reform would also contribute to the reduction of county jail populations. Initially, county governments were concerned about the potential impact this reform would have on the local jails. As of late, Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform has proved to have a positive effect on counties with reported decreases in county jail populations and the emergence of more community-based alternatives, such as accountability courts, to maintain the availability of space in local jail facilities. Backdrop/History Prior to the implementation of the Criminal Justice Reform Act, Georgia had the fourth highest incarceration rate in the nation spending over $1 billion annually on its corrections system. At the time of the bill’s creation, the General Assembly projected an 8 percent increase in the state’s prison population with an associated, cumulative cost of $264 million. The state’s prison population doubled between the years of 1990 and 2011, growing to nearly 56,000 inmates. From 2000 until 2012, the inmate population grew 35 percent,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2013

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
UGA’s Archway Partnership: Empowerment for Georgia’s Communities
Oglethorpe County: Focusing on the Benefi ts of Protecting Rural Roots
Eliminating Risks: LGRMS Celebrates 25 Years
Where Do We Stand? One Year after Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform
Understanding the Impacts of Juvenile Justice Reform
New Jail Facilities: Counties Focus on New Technology and Capacity to Expand
2013 Legislative Service Award Recipients
Hospital Survival: Informed County Commissioners Can Preserve Local Health Care
Federal New: More Gridlock and Uncertainty May Be Expected in Washington for FY 2014
Slice by Slice: Students Learn About the Signifi cance of Agriculture on Pizza Farms
Talking Trees with Georgia’s County Commissioners
Partner News: Value at the Heart of the Unique Gas South-ACCG Partnership
Commercial Swimming Pool Renovations Do’s and Don’ts
Counties & The Law: The Supreme Court, the Voting Rights Act and Georgia Counties
Legal News: Bidding in Georgia: What to Do When the Lowest
Conference Preview: Legislative Leadership
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - Fall 2013