Commentary: The GOP Brought Historic Criminal Justice Reforms to Georgia – The Rest of the Nation Should Be Watching

by Timothy Head


The GOP has been busy enacting effective legislative reform aimed at real-world problems in our great nation – something Democrats can hardly boast.

Take Georgia’s accomplishments in the realm of criminal justice reform, for instance. Georgia has been the focus of national media and political obsession for the past few years. President Joe Biden himself called the Georgia voting reform bill “Jim Crow in the 21st Century,” miring state-level politics in the national racial debates. Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s various policy efforts have faced unrelenting attacks from politicos and progressive journalists alike.

But what’s actually going on in Georgia? As it turns out, a lot. Georgia Republicans are making huge legislative strides in a number of key areas, criminal justice reform in particular.

A range of Republican-backed policies could improve the lives of countless Americans who would be otherwise unjustly shut out from normal, free lives, rich with opportunity – especially among Black Americans, who suffer disproportionately under our existing penal code.

One such bill is Senate Bill 257, aimed at allowing those who’ve committed and been convicted of some misdemeanors to seal their records with greater ease. These men and women deserve to re-enter society fully, without being punished forever for the mistakes of their past. The bill also has bipartisan support – something exceedingly rare, and worth notice.

Another laudable piece of legislation is Senate Bill 105, which would allow the reduction of excessively lengthy probation periods. We need to reward upstanding behavior wherever possible. We need to get as many people out of our penal system and back into productive civic life as possible – and this bill would help us do precisely that.

Senate Bill 353 is another excellent bill, which would end the practice of license suspension after failure to appear in court for some violations. After all, there’s simply no reason to make the justice system needlessly difficult to navigate.

But criminal justice is just one part of a much bigger picture. Improvements to education and educational access are important, as well – improvements like the Georgia Educational Scholarship Act, which would improve parent choice in schooling.

It’s common sense, specific reforms like these that do the real work of political improvement. Georgia politicians are obviously listening and responding to the needs of their constituents.

So shut out the noise. Shut out the false narratives that liberal media tries to spin about the work being done on the ground. Focus on what you can do, what you can influence. Focus on voting where it counts. Focus on the problems – and solutions – at hand.

That’s what Georgia’s legislators have done. They’re a model for us all, whether we’re in the community or in leadership. They know and live what so many of our leaders seem to have forgotten: American government exists for the sake of the governed.

American citizens deserve to be treated justly, whoever and wherever they are. We deserve the greatest possible access to the liberty and opportunities that make us the greatest nation in the world.

In large part, we owe the continued existence of this justice, liberty and opportunity to sound governance and to just leaders who are responsive to their constituents’ needs. We must fight to preserve or emulate it, wherever it exists.

– – –

Timothy Head is the executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.


Related posts