As we congratulate Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on the date of his second inauguration, we also reaffirm our commitment to a series of criminal justice reforms aimed at a goal we both share, making the streets of Atlanta safer. We continue to work toward that end; we need to do so forging the same sort of functional partnerships touted by City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.
The rate of criminal recidivism remains a major issue and a major concern for my office. We are addressing those issues as part of our Smart Justice Initiative that the offices of both Mayor Reed and Chief Turner along with Fulton County’s Justice Partners have formed to address issues by recently identifying “root causes”. I welcome any additional assistance from Mayor Reed and his office in this effort. Only by working together not just as leaders but as residents of Fulton County can we achieve this goal.
Our county is not an impediment to that effort but is addressing it every day. As we remain dedicated to resolving issues surrounding a federal consent decree regarding conditions at the Fulton County Jail, we are also embarking on creative approaches to keep our citizens safe and rehabilitating those offenders that would respond to that opportunity. Mayor Reed suggested job training as another way of giving the incarcerated a second chance and an opportunity at a productive life. We agree that such endeavors combined with what the county is already working on would only help us shut that revolving door. Such efforts include working with the National Association of Counties on the National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses, a program aimed specifically at unlocking the potential of our young people.
Mayor Reed also mentioned use of the City Jail to alleviate overcrowding issues in the county facility, an avenue we are currently in the process of evaluating. We are open to a fair proposal in this regard, but also one that is fiscally responsible for citizens of Atlanta and all of Fulton County.
At the time of the Mayor’s first inaugural, he expressed optimism about what we could do together as a community. Over the first 100 days of his second term and beyond, I look forward to working with Mayor Reed to make the communities of Atlanta and Fulton County safer for our citizens.
Mr. Eaves is chairman of the Fulton County Commission.