Gov. Deal Says Juvenile Justice Will Likely Be Part of New Prison System Reform Initiative

Governor Nathan Deal says juvenile justice system reform will likely be a critical part of a new bi-partisan initiative aimed at overhauling Georgia’s criminal justice system. “I would hope that we would be able to include juvenile justice in our review,” Gov. Deal told shortly after a news conference announcing the initiative at the state capitol Wednesday. “That is one of the fastest growing populations, so stemming that tide could play a major role in what we are trying to accomplish.”

State legislative leaders, including Supreme Court Justice Carol Hunstein, House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-DeKalb), Attorney General Sam Olens and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle joined the governor in announcing plans to assemble a new special council that they will all take part in. Legislation introduced today by Rep. Jay Neal (R-LaFayette) calls for a council to study criminal justice reforms and make  recommendations to a joint legislative committee no later than January 9, 2012. Rep. Neal’s HB 265 was touted as the “backbone” of the commission charged with providing solutions to Georgia’s high incarceration rate, the fourth highest in the country.