Fulton County Commissioners approved funds to continue their support of the 2016 Justice Reinvestment Initiatives. The first round of 2017 initiative requests include a group of one-time expenditures totaling $6,403,423 from an overall $7,464,317 in available funds. Following the expenditures, the funds remaining in the Initiative will be $1,060,894. The votes on the proposal were taken during the January 18, 2017 Commission meeting.
Fulton County Commission Chairman John H. Eaves expressed his excitement with the continued efforts to ensure an efficient and effective justice process. “The approval of this Reinvestment spending today continues our efforts to reduce the jail population, ensure that appropriate behavioral health treatment is available for those in need while also ensuring justice for victims as well as defendants,” said Chairman Eaves.
Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Gail S. Tusan added that the expenditures would improve efficiency in moving cases through the judicial system. “We see the continued implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative as a means of reducing case backlogs, lowering recidivism and ensuring that the Justice Reinvestment Initiative becomes a model of efficiency.”
Chief Strategy Officer Anna Roach described the approval of the 2017Justice Initiative Proposals as “another positive step toward revamping the justice process in Fulton County. Additionally, we are being cognizant of the most effective use of taxpayer dollars. The spending is one-time only to assist us in eliminating case backlogs as well as enhancing programs to ensure that the Fulton County Judicial system is one of the best in the nation,” said Roach.
Commissioners approved funds for the following plans:
Felony Backlog – Eliminate a backlog of over 200 felony cases that are over 365 days old
Misdemeanor Backlog – Eliminate a backlog of over 29,000 un-accused misdemeanor files
Civil Backlog – Eliminate a backlog of over 40,364 small claims and abandoned motor vehicle (AMV) cases
DUI Court – Expand participation in the program which is designed to reduce the jail population by treating, supervising and rehabilitating DUI offenders
Magistrate Court: Judicial Support – Continue to provide Superior and State Court judicial assistance to handle State and Superior Court matters
Magistrate Court: Additional Clerks – Would address workload increases because of Magistrate Court Clerk functions to address significant workload increases as a result of appointment as Magistrate Court Clerk without adequate staffing as identified in Carl Vinson Institute Workload Study, January 2016
Magistrate Court: Digital Recording – To comply with Magistrate Court Rules that require “a verbatim record of proceedings’ in cases where defendants may enter a plea
Magistrate Court: Public Defender – Would provide a public defender for abandoned minor child, copy of charges (diversion) and environmental calendars at north, south and central annexes.
Dually Involved Youth – Supports an existing grant-funded program involving early family intervention for children in need of supervision that also have delinquency proceedings. Funding would expedite data collection, analysis and reporting to identify and evaluate effectiveness
Partners Program – would provide a case manager to promote measurable outcomes and manage the expected growth of the program, which is a judicially supervised accountability court for juveniles
Judicial Officer – Would support the Superior Court Family Division
The initiative also includes budget enhancements for the Public Defender’s office.
Following the 2016 launch, the Justice Coordinating Committee adopted a charter, established a process for tracking progress on the system, instituted a project management system to report on each initiative and created a website to publicize progress and achievements. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative accomplishments that year also included:
The Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts team was able to reconcile more than 14,000 conflicting attorney bar numbers during the attorney merge project.
State Court and the Juvenile Court increased participation in their accountability courts between 25 and 30%
The Solicitor General were able to eliminate over 70% of backlog cases
Superior Court, working with other justice agencies, cleared 80 cases from a backlog of over 200 felony cases
For more information about the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, contact the Strategy and Performance Management Office at 404-612-8990