Report Outlines Stumbling Blocks in Georgia’s Effort to Reform Its Criminal Justice System
Date:  11-21-2012

Private correctional companies under fire for failing to live up to expectations
The Law Office of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia has issued a report that is critical of private prison and private probation companies in the state because there is little transparency and the expected results that the companies promoted have not been met.

Roadblocks to Reform, Perils for Georgia’s Criminal Justice System provides an overview of the problems, along with recommendations to correct them:

Georgia has the highest rate of adults under correctional control of any state:

  • Georgia has the fourth-highest incarceration rate

  • Georgia is far ahead of any other state in adult probation rates

  • There are four private prisons in Georgia housing some 5,400 state prisoners

  • Two of these prisons opened in the last year. The other two were expanded in the last year

  • Private prison companies have a financial interest in sustained or increased incarceration rates

  • The two biggest private prison companies have poured lobbying resources and campaign contributions into the state in the last decade

  • The proposed state budget for FY 2013 includes $35 million for 2,650 new private prison beds

  • GDC (Georgia Department of Correction) cost analyses indicate that private prisons cost more per-inmate per-day than state-run prisons

  • There are 35 private probation companies in Georgia operating in over 600 courts

  • These companies enjoy minimal oversight because of a state stat¬ute providing confidentiality for all of their information

  • Many people are only placed on misdemeanor probation because they are too poor to pay fines at court

    Common-sense reforms are possible:

  • Transparency is a prerequisite to accountability: cost and performance data should be made available and evaluated

  • Precise contract terms and enforceable monitoring mechanisms should be implemented to define the performance standards private companies must meet and to equip regulators to enforce those standards

  • State actors who interact with private companies in the performance of their duties should receive specialized training in order to increase consistency and fairness across the state

  • As Georgia streamlines its correctional expenditures to bring costs in line with best practices, it should phase out profit-seeking companies’ involvement in the criminal justice system because their business model is at odds with the goal of running effective and fair criminal justice and prison systems at the lowest reasonable cost

    To learn more about the Southern Center for Human Rights click here to go to website

    The full SCHR report can be read by clicking on the link below.
  • Click here to read more.