A Focus on Treating People
Georgia is becoming a national leader in criminal justice reform because of additional state
funding for accountability courts. These courts focus on treating people who are arrested for
nonviolent crimes and suffer from addiction or mental illness, instead of sending them to
prison. Georgia currently has 149 of these courts in the state.
A recent study of accountability courts in Georgia shows that they save taxpayer money and
help people avoid prison time. The study estimates that each accountability court participant,
who would otherwise be incarcerated or face other criminal charges, saves the tax-payers of
Georgia about $22,000 each. That is a savings of $38 million in the 2017 fiscal year. The study
also shows that accountability court reduces the chances that the person will re-offend and end
up incarcerated later on because it tries to treat the underlying problems behind the criminal
acts. The courts have reduced the number of inmates in prison in Georgia from around 55,000
in 2012 to about 53,000 in 2017.
Accountability Courts in Georgia Work This Way
1. The District Attorney’s Office refers eligible offenders arrested for nonviolent crimes to an
accountability court. They can choose to enroll in the program instead of facing other criminal
2. The person then participates in a screening to measure the level of their addiction or need
for other specific services. The screening is reviewed, and a plan of action is created for them.
3. They are required to complete an 18-24 month program that includes counseling, support
groups, frequent drug or alcohol testing, and training. If the person graduates from the
program, he or she can avoid jail time.
Contact Ashley Schiavone
Ashley Schiavone is a DUI Lawyer practicing in Gwinnett and Fulton counties.