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Despite recent reforms, the reach of the criminal justice system is vast with 1 in 12 adults in Georgia under correctional control: prison, parole, or probation. Further, more than 12,000 children are incarcerated throughout the state. These numbers are alarming and have dire consequences for people and families before, during, and after incarceration. Since Governor Nathan Deal took office in 2011, he has been committed to reforming Georgia’s criminal justice system saying, “While we foresee this effort uncovering strategies that will save taxpayer dollars, we are first and foremost attacking the human costs of a society with too much crime, too many behind bars, too many children growing up without a much needed parent and too many wasted lives. “We must do a better job rehabilitating lives.”
As criminal justice reform efforts enter the seventh year, there are still many issues that need legislative attention, including: the lengths of probation terms, the assessment and collection of fines and fees, access to driver’s licenses and identification, and the appropriate age of majority. The Southern Center for Human Rights Policy Unit is a daily presence at the Georgia General Assembly during session, advocating for measures that reduce Georgia’s overreliance on correctional control and ask for the necessary resources people need to be successful upon reentry.