In Georgia, Two Differing Opinions About how to Revamp the Juvenile Justice Code

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Most of the people who know anything about Georgia’s four-decades-old juvenile code agree that it needs changing. There is, however, great disagreement over how, and how much, it should be changed.

You hear this in the halls of the state House, in offices of juvenile court judges, in conference rooms of advocates.

It does not, however, often break into the open.

Today, the JJIE brings you two differing opinions on the subject, something that will likely prove to be a major issue when the state Legislature begins its work next year.

Judge Robert Rodatus is a juvenile court judge in Gwinnett County, Ga., in suburban Atlanta. He has worked in his current position since 1991 and has held a number of positions in the state’s Council of Juvenile Court Judges.

Kirsten Widner is director of Policy and Advocacy for the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta. In the recent past, she has become one of the key representatives for groups and individuals working towards revision of the state’s juvenile code.

Proposed Revision of Georgia Juvenile Code is Flawed

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Robert Rodatus Kristen Widner

I would like to take a few minutes to state my
thoughts on the status of Georgia’s juvenile code
revision and the course of action I intend to follow.
The short version is, I see no point in continuing
with the “stakeholder meeting” approach to reaching
a compromise on the proposed bill, HB641…
We are deeply saddened by Judge Rodatus’ op-ed on the juvenile code rewrite project and his views about the process that has been used to refine the Child Protection and Public Safety Act, which in its most current form is House Bill 641. His remarks do not reflect the wider community of juvenile court professionals…
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