Justice in GA

Map of Georgia Prison, by John S. Quarterman, 2012
The state of Georgia has uniquely high rates of incarceration and community supervision (i.e., probation and parole). Below are some basic facts about criminal justice and immigration detention in the state.
  • Georgia leads the country in correctional control (i.e., incarceration, probation, and parole combined) with a rate of 5,143 per 100,000 under correctional control (Prison Policy Initiative, 2018)
  • At the end of July, 2019, there were 55,246 people in state prisons
    • While the state of Georgia is roughly 53% white, 31% black, and 9% Hispanic, the prisons are 34% white, 61% black, and 4% Hispanic
    • About half of people incarcerated in Georgia prisons are being treated for mental health reasons
  • At the end of July, 2019, there were 39,245 people in jails around the state
    • Of these, 64% are awaiting trial
  • In 2018, there were 3,943/100,000 on probation and 209/100,000 on parole in Georgia (Prison Policy Initiative, 2018)
  • Georgia is home to four immigration detention centers, all of which are run by private corporations: Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA, Irwin County Detention Center in Oscilla, GA , Folkston ICE processing center in Folkston, GA, and Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility in Lovejoy, GA.
  • In December 2018, Georgia held an average of 3,925 people in immigration detention per day. The number of immigrants detained in Georgia has increased 66% since 2016. (Source: TRAC)
  • Immigrants in Georgia detention centers are more likely to be deported from the United States than immigrants detained elsewhere. Nationally, 60.3% of  people held in detention were released for deportation on FY 2015. At Stewart Detention Center, 87.1% were deported on release, and at Irwin County Detention Center, 75% were deported.
  • Immigrants and asylum-seekers in Georgia Detention Centers are far less likely to be released on bond than people in detention nationwide, and the average bond cost was substantially higher. Nationally, 10.5% of immigrants  in detention were released on bond in FY 2015; at Stewart Detention Center, only 5.2% were released on bond. Nationally, initial bond was an average of $8,200. At Stewart Detention Center, the initial bond average was 67% higher, at $13,714.

There have been some important reform bills including:

  • HB 1176 (2012) and SB 174 (2017) were passed to address prison growth and costs, public safety, and reduce probation. They did so by:
    • Investing in diversionary courts and programs, such as mental health and substance abuse programs
    • Decreasing sentence length to better match the seriousness of the crime
    • Refocusing probation and parole efforts to reduce revocations
  • HB 345 (2019) banned the use of shackles on pregnant women. Emory School of Nursing professor, Dr. Brenda Baker, was instrumental in the passage of this bill
Image of a white building with a dome on top. It is against a blue sky and there are some trees in front.
Georgia State Capital, Image by atlexplorer