This report presents data on the trends and impact of Georgia’s criminal justice reforms initiated under its 2017 Justice Reinvestment Initiative.
Although Georgia has been engaged in criminal justice system reforms since 2012, in 2016 the state focused on community supervision, since Georgia had the highest rate of adults on probation in the country. After several months of analysis and policy development, in 2017 Governor Nathan Deal signed Act 226, which codified the framework of the Justice Reinvestment policy framework developed by the Georgia Council on Criminal justice Reform. The reform legislation included policies to reduce lengthy probation terms and large probation caseloads, improvement in the cost-effectiveness of response to probation and parole violations, and improvement in the handling of legal financial obligations for people on felony probation. Georgia has achieved many of its reform goals and has implemented processes to track relevant data to monitor the use of new policies. The active felony probation population has decreased, and the Department of Corrections Supervision (DCS) has approved approximately 34 percent of requests for moving a person on probation to unsupervised status. There has been a 33-percent reduction in average caseload sizes. This report suggests continuing the reform policy of a behavioral incentive date (BID), which encourages compliance with the terms of supervision. Georgia should also monitor data on early termination to determine how it is being used and whether there are opportunities to improve its use. 6 figures