Governor Nelson Deal of Georgia has made news over the past few years for actively trying to overhaul his state’s criminal justice system to become more effective in reducing recidivism by promoting best practices in Georgia’s courts, juvenile justice system, corrections and reentry programs. Apparently the federal government recognized Deal’s work and awarded Georgia with a $6.75 million grant to be utilized in the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Reentry and in Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice.
The following is a press release issued on October 1, 2014 by Governor Deal:
Grant money to assist Georgia re-entry programs, reducing recidivism and saving taxpayer dollars
Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia was awarded $6.75 million in federal grant money to support re-entry services for rehabilitated offenders. The grants were administered by the U.S. Department of Justice to the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry (GOTSR) and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
“Since taking office, I've emphasized and implemented meaningful changes to our criminal justice system because Georgia could simply not afford the ever-increasing costs of incarceration,” said Deal. “By putting common-sense back into the equation, we’ve reduced our state’s prison population and recidivism rates. These reforms are working, and being awarded these nationally competitive grants is a testament to the fact that people are taking notice.
“The final step toward a lasting criminal justice overhaul is successful re-entry into society. This grant money will aid Georgia’s efforts to remove barriers to employment, housing and education for rehabilitated offenders. We have come a long way, but our work is not done. We remain committed to ensuring that those who are willing to change the direction of their lives will find a helping hand, and these grants will help us do so.”
The GOTSR was awarded four grants, totaling approximately $6 million over the next three years. The grants will be used to support the Georgia Prisoner Re-entry Initiative (GA-PRI) with additional training and staff, improve evidence-based supervision procedures, increase the flow of communication between stakeholders and strengthen community-based services for rehabilitated offenders returning to society.
“Governor Deal has provided exceptional leadership in Criminal Justice Reform from the beginning of his term,” said Jay Neal, executive director of GOTSR. “The widespread support he has generated within all branches of government and the enthusiastic collaboration of our state’s departments were critical to our success in developing the applications. We’re honored to receive every grant we applied for and look forward to creating safer neighborhoods and better citizens through the implementation of the re-entry initiative.”
DJJ will focus the federal grant funds on addressing the behavioral needs of juvenile offenders with the goal of reducing recidivism. The $750,000 Second Chance Act (SCA) is a two-phase planning grant to assist with development of basic components for successful juvenile justice system reforms. Resources from the grant will also be used to provide training for DJJ staff on the appropriate use of behavioral interventions and strategies.
"We're extremely proud that Georgia's Department of Juvenile Justice was selected to receive this notable grant for our re-entry demonstration project," said Avery Niles, commissioner of DJJ. "The Justice Program grant award speaks volumes about the quality of reform initiatives we have in progress and the dedicated team we have in place to implement the updates in our community transition strategies.
Click here to see full press release with the grants, agencies and award amount.