Smart on Crime GA is headed by various policy and non-profit organizations in Georgia. These organizations do not come from a single political party or background; they are diverse in their beliefs and meet on the common ground of a vision for a Georgia that is smarter on crime.
What does it meant to be smarter on crime? While the specific next steps will evolve as progress continues to be made, several core tenets unite to guide the vision:
Prison is costly, both for taxpayers and for those incarcerated. Taxpayers and individuals both stand to benefit from smarter, more effective alternatives to keep non-violent offenders out of prisons and jails when merited.
Georgia has a staggering number of people on probation and parole. Finding ways to use parole officers more effectively and determining when and how parole or probation should be used in the first place is critical to spending criminal justice funds more wisely.
Not all crimes should result in a “life sentence” of being removed from society or even being marginalized. Finding ways to encourage and assist returning offenders into their communities with the purpose-giving, life-affirming goal of employment and contribution to society as a productive, law-abiding citizen should be encouraged at every turn. Efforts should include removing barriers to job opportunities, reducing hurdles to education and restoring the dignity of work.
Smart policing develops trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they protect. Examining policies that have led to distrust between these two groups and engaging in intelligent dialogue about how to address these issues and establish trust is paramount to criminal justice reform.
The number of African-Americans being locked up in Georgia’s prison system has dropped to historic lows, reflecting a monumental shift in the way Georgia is punishing nonviolent offenders.