Individual citizens, lawmakers, law enforcement officials and more may frequently have varying and even opposing views on crime. While needing to ensure public safety, the need to protect the rights of all persons accused of illegal activity remains important.
In Georgia and across the country today, some efforts are being made to revisit some policies and laws that comprise essential elements of the criminal justice system.
Mandatory minimum sentences
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation advocates for a revisiting of mandatory minimums as these sentences may frequently result in unfair and inconsistent consequences for defendants. The foundation points out that a hard-and-fast approach to sentencing fails to accommodate the multiple of variables that may be involved in a case. Mandatory minimum sentences also remove judge discretion that may result in more fair sentencing.
New bills introduced in Georgia
In June of this year, 12 new bills promoting various changes to criminal justice laws were introduced into the Georgia legislature. Together, the 12 bills are referred to as the Justice for All effort. As reported by Savannah Now, these include a bill preventing the use of choke holds by officers and another banning no-knock search warrants.
Another bill aims to allow people convicted of felony charges the right to vote. Disciplinary actions for police officers that employ racial profiling tactics were the subject of another bill. If passed, another proposal included in the package would allow a district attorney to identify when they face a conflict of interest in a case and, as a result, request to be taken off or not work on that case.