Criminal Justice Reform report to serve as starting point

November 18, 2011

The Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians has delivered its report to Gov. Nathan Deal, Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Find the report here.

“The Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform has exceeded expectations by delivering a comprehensive, serious and well-crafted report. I joined members of the General Assembly in asking this council to provide us with a starting point. We still have a long way to go in this process, as my office engages with legislators and concerned Georgians on where we go from here. Obviously, the council has provided us with an in-depth study and recommendations. One of those recommendations I have already agreed to: I will sign an executive order to keep a council intact so that it can continue to provide input on this important topic. We have an amazing opportunity to save lives as well as tax dollars. While we’ll never shrink from our duty to protect the public from dangerous criminals, we know that alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders suffering from addiction or mental illness produces much better results. Let’s get to work on promoting recovery and rehabilitation rather than a system that simply hardens criminals.”

Cagle and Ralston echoed the governor’s compliments for the council’s efforts.

“I truly appreciate the diligent and thorough work of the Criminal Justice Reform Council, and I am grateful that Senators Hamrick, Crosby and Ramsey were willing to lend their experience and expertise to this critically important effort,” Cagle said. “Keeping Georgia's citizens safe and doing so in a fiscally prudent manner is a primary function of state government, and I look forward to debate on this important issue during the session.”

“This report by the Criminal Justice Reform Council represents months of work by all three branches of state government to balance the concerns of a billion dollar Department of Corrections budget, while ensuring public safety,” said Ralston. “I would particularly like to thank Representatives Jay Powell, Willie Talton and Mary Margaret Oliver for their efforts in this important work, and I look forward to making this a priority issue during the upcoming legislative session.”