Monday, October 25, 2010

Grant funds program to cut repeat offenses

Fulton County has been granted approximately $749,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice as a part of the federal Second Chance Act. The monies will be used to fund a program designed to reduce recidivism.

Inmates selected to participate in Fulton County’s Second Chance Project will receive assistance while they are in the Fulton County Jail and for 18 months after their release. The services provided by the program will focus on helping participants change their behavior.

Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Cynthia Wright said that the program will bring needed additions to the state's effort to rehabilitate offenders.

"The Superior Court looks forward to working with our Justice System Partners, Chairman [John] Eaves and the County Commission in ensuring that the Second Chance Project is the first step toward improving offender outcomes and public safety," Judge Wright said.

By reducing recidivism, the Taskforce hopes to help inmates reclaim their lives, help the community with improved public safety, and help save taxpayer dollars. The Fulton County criminal justice system cost taxpayers approximately $221.9 million for 2010. Inmates released back to Fulton County from the state prison system have a 47% recidivism rate.

Fulton County is among 116 organizations in the U.S. – and one of only 17 counties – that will receive Second Chance Act funding this year. The grant allows for an annual renewal for the amount received for up to three years.

The grant was developed by the Fulton County Reentry Taskforce, headed by Fulton County Chairman John H. Eaves, with support from key justice system officials, including District Attorney Paul Howard, Sheriff Ted Jackson, Chief Judge Wright, Public Defender Vernon Pitts, and state agencies including the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Georgia Department of Pardons and Paroles, and the Georgia Department of Labor. Nonprofit and education partners include the Atlanta and Fulton County School systems, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Georgia Justice Project, Atlanta Metropolitan College and the Atlanta Technical College, Community Voices and the Morehouse School of Medicine.

"Our Second Chance grant award validates the process we have undertaken -- to bring everyone to the table to identify the best ways to address the public safety challenges we all face in Fulton County,” said Fulton Commission Chairman Eaves.


source: Fulton County news release Oct. 22, 2010
More details at: Second Chance Program Fact Sheet

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