ATLANTA (CBS46) — Georgia lawmakers on the Senate Public Security Committee launched their sequence of legislative hearings centered on “reversing crime in Atlanta,” Wednesday morning.
Contained in the State Capitol, the director of the GBI, the Fulton County Sheriff, the Forsyth County Sheriff, the Fulton Solicitor Common and different leaders in legislation enforcement spoke earlier than the committee about legislative modifications that must be made to enhance the felony justice programs in Atlanta.
Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat informed the group that case backlogs are impacting the overcrowded jail.
“As of midnight final night time, we now have 1,683 warrants that also must be executed that signifies that there are 1,683 individuals accused of against the law, most of them violent,” Labat mentioned including that staffing remains to be an issue and that compensation can even have to enhance.
“The times of asking somebody to place their lives on the road for $50,000 and $60,000 is completely lengthy gone,” Labat mentioned. “I lose upwards of 5 to 10 people per week, whether or not it’s to retirement or as a result of they’re going to the varsity police departments to get in on their pension packages.”
Contained in the Fulton County Jail, overcrowding and understaffing are high points.
CBS46 was granted a tour of the jail Wednesday afternoon the place dozens of inmates must sleep on small mats on the flooring, known as boats, as a result of there’s not sufficient mattress house.
Lt. Colonel Adam Lee tells CBS46 that a number of the inmates have been within the jail for 5 years, many dealing with homicide prices, awaiting trial due to case backlogs.
“It is a robust job having to take care of an overcrowded jail and in addition being short-staffed on the similar time; so you’ve got extra inmates and fewer employees members which creates a burden,” Lee informed CBS46.
Fulton County Solicitor Common Keith Gammage says the felony justice programs and courts must work extra effectively, persevering with instances retains them unresolved.
“These delays result in us generally receiving instances significantly DUI and Home Violence a 12 months and a half after the incident,” Gammage informed the committee.
Gammage says his workplace at present has 10,000 home violence instances and seven,000 DUI instances that they’re working across the clock to handle.
Within the listening to Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman mentioned he’s a tricky on crime legislation enforcement officer, and inspired judges to be harder on violent criminals. Freeman mentioned the crime challenge impacts all counties that encompass Atlanta.
Freeman and different Republican senators urged passing legal guidelines to instate necessary minimal sentences for violent crimes, a follow that has been controversial and divisive.
“Necessary minimums are completely the proper factor to do for violent offenders,” mentioned Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, who chairs the committee. “As so many individuals talked about, we’re okay with second probabilities, however not third, fourth, fifth or 20. That is an actionable step that we are able to do.”
Sen. Kim Jackson, D-Stone Mountain disagrees with the harder on crime strategy and said that lawmakers ought to focus extra on taking weapons off the streets.
“I need to keep away from us returning to an period the place we’re incarcerating tons and tons of individuals,” Jackson informed CBS46. “We’ve been in that place earlier than. We all know what these robust on crimes do. It ends in over-incarceration. It ends in destroying households,” Jackson defined.
Albers says the committee might be engaged on viable options to handle funding and staffing wants in legislation enforcement and courts.
“We’re going to some superb concrete issues come out of this and also you’ll see some motion,” Albers mentioned. “In reference to the funds, we now have to as a state decide to that.”
The subsequent assembly is tentatively scheduled for the week lawmakers return for redistricting hearings within the first or second week in November.
Atlanta Police Rodney Bryant is slated to talk to the committee on the subsequent assembly.