On February 21st, I had the pleasure of attending the Clayton County Prison Reentry Initiative Stakeholders Meeting. The event was hosted by Toni Watkins from the State of Georgia Department of Community Supervision featuring Judge Steve Teske at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
The meeting consisted of an informational about approximately 700 prisoners throughout the state of Georgia being released and mandated to live in either Clayton or Catoosa County. Yes, there is a law limiting Georgia inmates only to live in those two counties after paying their debt to society: seems like double jeopardy. GA House Representative Keisha Waites was able to give more insight on the law and its flaws. She also spoke about her work to keep Georgians from being victims of the prison system.
The key speaker, Judge Steve Teske charismatically swooned the crowd of Clayton County stakeholders, as he gallantly told the story of his criminal justice reform tactics as a judge. Measures such as working with legislators to pass laws forbidding suspension of students from class and doing away with mandatory sentencing for children. Currently he is working with Governor Dale to handle Georgia’s justice reformation.
The meeting curator, Toni Watkins took the stage to present the stakeholders with a charge to help reduce the chances of the nearly 700 prisoners committing crimes to return to jail. She explained that newly released citizens will need the support of their community, community organizations, faith based organizations; in particular for clothing, food, and work.
In closing, if you can or know anyone who can help inmates transition back to civilian life contact Toni Watkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404.985.8758.