Tuesday, May 8, 2007

News - Stacking the deck

Here is an interesting little news tidbit from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Faced with a funding shortfall, the state's public defender agency has
eliminated 41 full-time jobs — about a 12 percent reduction in its workforce.
Among those losing their jobs are 14 lawyers across Georgia. The layoffs are
expected to increase the caseloads of the remaining defenders. The statewide
system was created in 2003 to replace underfunded county-run programs that
provided legal representation for indigent defendants in criminal cases.
Lawsuits alleging constitutional violations were filed against a number of
county systems before the statewide system was established.
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I'm sure you have read various articles or heard news reports on the ever-skyrocketing rates of incarceration in this country. Here in Georgia we are faced with an ever growing prison population and an attitude that every citizen is simply a criminal waiting to be caught. Based on 2004 numbers provided by the Department of Justice, Georgia has a higher crime rate, prison population, incarceration rate, number of people on probation and parolees than the national average. We are also paying less per capita for prison expenses than the national average. And yet there are still constant demands to cut the cost of maintaining the prison system while there are still more new laws being passed and the ever present "get tougher on crime!" screams are heard daily. What the hell is wrong with us?

What we need in Georgia, and a lot of other states, is to get more people like Loretta Nall from Alabama involved in the political process in their states. Nall, who parlayed an overzealous pot bust into a serious run for the state gubernatorial seat last year, has stayed active in educating her fellow state residents in the fallacies and faults in their state's criminal justice system. Nall is bringing the common sense of the common man and woman to a higher level of recognition in her state, much to the chagrin of the front line elite of Alabama politics.

With this new round of budget cuts to Georgia Public Defenders office, what we see is the state attempting to stack the deck even more against the poor and defenseless among it's citizens to ensure that the prisons are stocked with fresh new faces. Georgians will only realize the false safety and failure to properly govern in this manner once one of our own can come to the forefront and stick the truths of this matter back into our faces.

2 comments:

Loretta Nall said...

Amen on getting more people involved in every state. Fuck being scared...its time to fight back with a vengance.

All the Best,
Loretta Nall

The CT blogger said...

Thanks for the comment, Loretta. There are a lot of us across the border in Georgia who are still rooting for you.