Criminal justice reform panel named – GA

Thirteen lawyers, lawmakers and judges will explore ways to reform Georgia’s criminal justice system, which spends $1 billion a year to lock up lawbreakers.

The Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, which includes the state’s chief justice, will explore ways to change sentencing patterns and will report its findings by Nov. 1. The council was established by House Bill 265.

“It is our hope to uncover new approaches to make Georgia communities safer while increasing offender accountability, improving rehabilitation efforts and lowering costs,” Gov. Nathan Deal said.

Deal appointed four members to the council, and House Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Chief Justice Carol Hunstein each appointed three members.

State lawmakers on the council are: Reps. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur; Jay Powell, R-Camilla; and Willie Talton, R-Warner Robins; and Sens. John Crosby, R-Tifton; Bill Hamrick, R-Carrollton; and Ron Ramsey, D-Decatur.

Other members of the council are: Hunstein; Todd Markle, Deal’s executive counsel; Douglas County District Attorney David McDade; Atlanta lawyer Linda Evans; Atlanta lawyer Ken Shigley, president-elect of the State Bar of Georgia; and Superior Court Judges Ural Glanville of Fulton County and Michael Boggs of the Waycross Judicial Circuit.

The group will work with The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit that will analyze the ideas of the council. It will report its findings and recommendations by Nov. 1 to a group of 16 legislators who will consider legislation for next year’s session.

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