GDC Leaders Attend the 50-State Summit on Public Safety
FORSYTH, Ga. -- On November 13-14, Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier, and Assistant Commissioner for Health Services, Randy Sauls, joined corrections directors, state legislators, law enforcement officials and behavioral health professionals from all 50 states at The 50-State Summit on Public Safety in Washington, D.C. This event was an unprecedented gathering designed to help critical leaders examine individual state trends in crime, arrests, corrections populations, addiction and mental health, and ultimately develop integrated approaches to addressing their unique challenges.
The two-day summit, organized by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA), served as an opportunity for state delegates to join together to discuss complex crime trends and data. While violent crime overall remains lower than a decade ago, its rate is no longer universally declining and is rising in some communities and overall in 18 states. That’s coupled with record lows in property crime rates. The opioid crisis has escalated to a national emergency, and law enforcement leaders describe engaging with more people with serious mental illnesses now more than ever before.
“All states coming together to have broader conversations among stakeholders and leadership about criminal justice challenges, allows us to work together to build solutions,” said Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier. “We are excited to be involved in this national dialogue that promotes offender reentry, education and criminal justice reform.”
Each of the 50 state teams that attended the event were led by their respective state corrections administrators and included a key state legislator, a law enforcement official and a local behavioral health professional. Attendees of the event—which featured 35 behavioral health directors, 15 chiefs of police, 12 sheriffs, and 41 state legislators—received state-specific workbooks developed through interviews conducted by the CSG Justice Center in each state. Those individual state data include trends in crime, arrests, recidivism, correctional populations, and behavioral health in each state, as well as case studies and examples of lessons learned.
The summit featured discussions with leaders representing all elements of the criminal justice system from states across the country, as well as national voices, including U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, JustLeadershipUSA’s Glenn E. Martin and Darlene Hutchinson Biehl, director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime.
State teams emerged from the summit having identified clear strategies for reducing crime and recidivism, improving outcomes for people with mental health and substance use disorders, and reducing spending on prisons and jails.
The CSG Justice Center will be releasing a report in January 2018 that includes a detailed analysis of the state and local data discussed at last week’s summit.
The 50-State Summit on Public Safety was made possible by funding from by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Tow Foundation.
The GDC has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees.
For more information on the GDC call 478-992-5248 or visit http://www.gdc.ga.gov.