Montana Take A Look At Common Sense

Georgia Gets Justice – Is Your State Next?

by Ryan Sanders|May 3, 2012

Governor Nathan Deal signed a criminal justice reform bill into law yesterday. This law will change how Georgia punishes nonviolent offenders—reserving prison beds for the most violent criminals.

Justice Fellowship Director of External Affairs Craig DeRoche and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

Justice Fellowship succeeded in Georgia with a broad coalition of government officials, law enforcement professionals, pastors and business leaders to pass criminal justice reforms. We couldn’t have done it without those who answered our call and contacted state legislators to demand justice reform NOW!

Craig DeRoche, Justice Fellowship’s Director of External Affairs, attended Governor Deal’s signing ceremony. DeRoche remarked, “Governor Deal spoke from his heart as he signed the most comprehensive improvements to public safety and the Georgia criminal justice system in several decades.”

This bill will change the way Georgia does criminal justice. Rather than simply warehousing people in prison—which is expensive and ineffective—Governor Deal and leaders have “moved Georgia toward improving public safety through accountability and a focus on programs shown to reduce crime, break addictions and respect victims,” said DeRoche.

Justice Fellowship works to reform the criminal justice system so victims are respected, offenders are transformed and reintegrated, and communities are safer. Georgia’s new law does exactly that. The new law will add Georgia to the growing list of states like Kentucky, Colorado, South Carolina, Maryland and Ohio that are rethinking how to increase safety and save taxpayers’ dollars.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports reforms from House Bill 1176 are projected to save Georgia taxpayers $264 million over the next five years.
In a speech prior to the ceremony, Governor Deal said of this new law:

“As we reserve more of our expensive [prison] bed space for truly dangerous criminals [we] free up revenue to deal with those who are not necessarily dangerous but are in many ways in trouble because of various addictions…Our system is feeding on itself with our recidivism rate being as high as it is. We have the opportunity now to make a difference in the lives of future generations of Georgians.”

Key Reforms from the Bill:

– Focus prison space on violent and career criminals by establishing graduated penalties for several property and drug crimes;

– Reduce recidivism by strengthening probation and accountability courts that target offenders with substance abuse and mental health problems;

– Relieve local jail crowding by reducing delays in the transfer of jail inmates to state facilities;

– Hold corrections agencies accountable for better results through data collection and performance measurement systems.

Visit Criminal Justice in the States for more information on Georgia and additional state reform efforts.

Georgia’s HB 1176 is unique in that it reforms the system while cutting spending and maintaining public safety. Justice Fellowship’s president Pat Nolan said of the bill, “It will focus the criminal justice system on incarcerating those who are truly dangerous, while punishing low-risk offenders without the great expense of incarceration.”

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  • Not only does Montana need to re-evaluate it’s stance on warehousing inmates for profit but Montana also needs to take a look at the major cracks within the judicial system. Why is there so much misconduct happening within the courtroom? 


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