• The Southern Center for Human Rights represents individuals on death row at trial, on appeal, and in the post-conviction review process.
  • The legal system is so complex and contains so many procedural traps that a lay person accused of a crime can no more navigate it alone than a passenger can fly a plane in the absence of the pilot.
  • The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and within the United States, the top 7 states with the highest incarceration rates are all Southern states.
  • Contrary to what many people believe, there are debtors’ prisons throughout the United States where people are imprisoned because they are too poor to pay fines and fees.

The Southern Center for Human Rights


  • 29th January 2016

    In an order that will have far-reaching effects throughout Georgia, a federal judge yesterday condemned the City of Calhoun’s money bail system – a system that permitted the wealthy to purchase their release from jail, while detaining the indigent for up to one week. The order came in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of indigent people charged with minor crimes in Calhoun, where city and court practices resulted in days of jail for people unable to afford to pay a monetary bond. The case, Walker v. City of Calhoun, is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

  • 25th January 2016

    The United States Supreme Court heard arguments on November 2, 2015, on whether prosecutors engaged in race discrimination at Timothy Foster’s 1987 capital trial in Rome, Georgia, when prosecutors used their peremptory strikes to exclude black prospective jurors from jury service and then argued to the all-white jury that Foster should be sentenced to death for the murder of a white victim to “deter other people out there in the projects.” At the time, ninety percent of the families in the projects were black, including the Fosters. The jury sentenced Foster to death.

  • 19th January 2016

    The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) applauds Governor Deal’s historic recognition of the rights of Georgia’s children. In his FY 2017 budget, the Governor has recommended funding the Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC) for 20 juvenile public defenders to represent poor children in juvenile court.

  • 16th December 2015

    Fulton County Commissioners are dragging their feet in making a decision about who should provide healthcare at the Fulton County Jail, posing a public health threat to jail staff, detainees, and ultimately the community.

  • 28th October 2015

    Southern Center for Human Rights' President and Senior Counsel Stephen Bright, Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S.



  • 1st February 2016

    A federal judge in Rome has barred the city of Calhoun from detaining indigent defendants in misdemeanor or minor traffic cases in jail for as long as a week simply because they cannot afford a cash bond.

    The injunction by U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy labeled as unconstitutional the city's practice of jailing indigent defendants accused of city ordinance violations and other misdemeanors who cannot raise enough money to pay preset cash bonds. The city routinely releases defendants who are awaiting adjudication of misdemeanor charges and have enough cash to post bond.

  • 18th November 2015

    On the eve of the next execution, a look at the state’s history of bad lawyering and faulty evidence.

  • 20th May 2015

    A South Georgia probation company accused in a lawsuit of wrongfully detaining poor people will be closing its operation next month.

    Red Hills Community Probation, which handles misdemeanor probation supervision for five small courts, informed state regulators that it will close in June, according to emails obtained Wednesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    The company’s decision came as the County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council (CMPAC), which regulates probation providers, was in the midst of a compliance review of Red Hills.

  • 2nd May 2015
    Success of Georgia probation reforms depends on changes from the bench

    When Adel Edwards appeared before Judge Joshua Bell in a tiny municipal court in rural Georgia, it was hardly the crime of the century. Edwards was accused of burning leaves in his yard without a permit. But the judge didn’t treat the matter lightly. He ordered Edwards, who is disabled and lives on food stamps, to pay a $500 fine, spend 12 months on probation and pay a private probation company another $44 a month to “supervise” him.

  • 14th March 2015

    The U.S. Justice Department on Friday stepped into ongoing litigation to express concern about legal representation for juveniles in a South Georgia judicial circuit.

    The agency’s civil rights division, in a 22-page court filing, told a Fulton County judge he should find the constitutional rights of juvenile defendants are being violated if necessary legal safeguards are not in place.