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State Bar of Georgia Praises Enactment of Juvenile Justice Revision

May 6, 2013
Contact: Sarah I. Coole or sarahc@gabar.org

Atlanta – State Bar of Georgia President Robin Frazer Clark has hailed the signing of House Bill 242, a comprehensive revision of the state’s juvenile justice code, by Gov. Nathan Deal last week as a significant step toward reducing both the criminal recidivism rate and taxpayer costs.

“Enactment of these changes to emphasize mental health and substance abuse treatment, anger management programs, family counseling, education and employment programs and probation supervisions, rather than imprisonment for non-violent juvenile offenders will pay substantial dividends for the state of Georgia,” Clark said. “The State Bar strongly supports these revisions, and we applaud the General Assembly and Gov. Deal for their decisive action on this important legislation.”

Clark said final approval of HB 242 is the result of years of effort by the Juvenile Law Committee of the State Bar’s Young Lawyers Division, the JUSTGeorgia statewide juvenile justice coalition, the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia and leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The new law incorporates the latest findings in the child and adolescent brain development field and provides for policy changes that will prevent detention and sustain healthy behavior outside the juvenile justice system.

“As Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein has stated, spending $91,000 per year to incarcerate each juvenile offender and getting a 65 percent recidivism rate in return was not working,” Clark said. “The new juvenile justice code is the best possible blend of all perspectives and one through which the state can continue to meet the objective of being tough on crime but also smart on crime.”

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