ATLANTA, GA — Today Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams released a community safety plan to build upon her support for common sense measures that will make Georgia safer, reform our criminal justice system, and put an end to the era of mass incarceration.
“Stacey Abrams is the common sense public safety candidate in the race for governor,” said former police officer Dennis Collard. “Her opponent’s plan amounts to nothing more than stoking fear with ineffective, harmful lock-em-up policies. By way of contrast, Abrams has a proven track record of supporting smart, comprehensive measures that protect victims of crime and bring perpetrators to justice, and offer pathways back for those who have served their time. She is the only candidate for governor Georgians can trust to ensure the safety and well-being of our families.”
“It is heartening to see a candidate propose community safety measures based on evidence and the lived experiences of Georgians, and that recognize how past policies have harmed certain communities,” said community activist and South Fulton Councilman khalid kamau. “Stacey Abrams is bold, honest, and unapologetic about creating a truly just Georgia where everyone feels safe.”
“I worked closely with Stacey Abrams for over a decade in the legislature,” said Stephanie Davis, former Executive Director of Georgia Women for a Change.“Under the Gold Dome, she was without a doubt the strongest advocate for survivors of violence we had, and the only candidate for governor with a clear vision for how Georgia can foster thoughtful policies that will make our families safer.”
ABRAMS’ COMMUNITY SAFETY PLAN:
In the last decade, a bipartisan consensus has emerged that our criminal justice system must head in a new direction. Republicans and Democrats realized Georgia could not afford to continue to lead the country in mass incarceration, which costs too much money, does not effectively address crime and community safety, and sets people up for permanent failure. Georgia has started on a bipartisan path to a smarter approach—one the next governor must continue. We cannot return to the tired, out-dated patterns of the past. In 2018, we must elect leadership with a bold new vision for what Georgia can be, one that prioritizes real, data-driven solutions that ensure the safety and well-being of all its citizens.
- Promote community-oriented policing to increase trust between communities and law enforcement by encouraging engagement to proactively identify and address issues that impact the quality of life in neighborhoods. In contrast with her opponent, Abrams supports a living wage for law enforcement. She will ensure the state provides transition grants to the communities willing to serve as partners and pay for it with the savings from furthering Deal’s criminal justice reform.
- Enforce our sex trafficking laws. Stacey Abrams will work to ensure the strong laws already on the books are enforced. As a state legislator, Abrams voted for SR 445 in 2008 which set up a study committee on sex trafficking, HB 200 in 2011 to comprehensively strengthen lawsand increase penalties against human trafficking, and SB 8 in 2015 to set up the Safe Harbor Fund. As governor, Abrams will move forward with the Safe Harbor Commission and Fund that voters approved in 2016, and ensure that Human Trafficking Notices are posted, training opportunities exist throughout our state, and child sex trafficking victims are not treated as criminals.
- Support violence prevention and youth services programs that use data driven solutions to improve community safety, including Hospital Interventions, Community-Based Strategies, and programs like Savannah’s Youth Intervention and Violence Intervention Program.
The safety of the learning environment must be our highest priority, as the ability to learn and to educate effectively rely on the security of our schools. As governor, Stacey Abrams will:
- Keep our youngest children safe by continuing DECAL’s use of federal funds to pay for background checksfor child care workers.
- Support Positive Behavioral Interventions, the Georgia Education Climate Coalition, Mental Health Funding, and School Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists.
- Break the School-to-Prison Pipeline by providing early interventions and supports.
- Support School Resource Officers by ensuring access to appropriate training.
- Prioritize Digital Citizenship so that as students learn technology, they also learn to avoid bullying and to be good digital citizens.
- Ensure Safe Facilities by providing resources for safety and security building improvements.
Stacey Abrams respects the 2nd Amendment and the rights of Georgians to protect their families and homes. However, she also knows that threats can come from within the home as well. Abrams supports common sense gun safety measures to protect victims of domestic violence and to allow for eminent danger protection orders.
- Support Survivors of Domestic Violence. Abrams calls for the creation of a panel of survivors, advocates, and lawmakers to determine the best way to ensure that perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking aren’t able to access weapons. Such actions may include prohibiting possession and requiring the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers. Additionally, she will support service providers to ensure victims in every part of the state have assistance and shelter when facing family violence. Georgia’s domestic violence service providers received more than 44,000 crisis calls in 2017, and shelters turned away more than 2,300 victims and their children due to lack of bed space. As Governor, Abrams will work with the legislature to close the service gaps for survivors of violence.
- Allow Families to Petition for Extreme Risk Protection Orders. When a loved one has mental health challenges that put them at risk of endangering themselves or others, families and law enforcement should have a path to petition a court to temporarily restrict firearms access.
ABRAMS’ PROVEN TRACK RECORD:
Stacey Abrams has a proven track record of bipartisan work to improve community safety and reform the criminal justice system. Abrams co-sponsored the legislation to create the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform in 2011, was appointed by Governor Deal to serve on the Council, and served on various subcommittees created by Governor Deal. The council’s efforts included a “ban the box” recommendation later adopted by the state, as well as several juvenile justice reform measures. Abrams also served on the Parole and Probations Committee and the Juvenile Justice Committee.
During her eleven years on the House Judiciary Non-Civil committee, she fought against legislation to increase penalties for juvenile defendants, and helped negotiate several bills to improve the balance of criminal justice and public safety. In the 2015-2016 session, she co-sponsored a reform bill to clarify protections for the elderly and the disabled when facing trial, and a bill to raise the age at which Georgians are treated as adults in the Georgia justice system. She also participated in successful legislative efforts that led to wide-scale private probation reform. In 2016, she secured a provision in the omnibus criminal justice bill that allows ex-offenders to qualify for professional licenses.
In 2017, she served on the Parole and Probations Committee, whose work was adopted in SB 174. Abrams has been a strong advocate for victims and survivors of violence at the capitol, and has worked closely with advocates and survivors to oppose legislation that would undermine justice for victims.
Abrams voted for numerous pieces of legislation to stop human trafficking and gang activity—the very legislation her opponent has praised and wants to build upon. Stacey Abrams voted yes on HB 1015 in 2010—the legislation Brian Kemp calls the strongest anti-gang legislation in the nation. A proponent of stronger measures to protect child victims, Abrams co-sponsored HB 480 in 2013 to add victim assistance personnel to the list of people who can be present when a child testifies in a sex abuse case. In 2013, Abrams co-sponsored HB 797 to extend the window of time that victims of certain sexual offenses may request compensation for being victim of a crime. In 2016, Abrams spearheaded the “A Promise Kept” initiative to support veterans and military families, which included her co-sponsorship of HB 825, the “Protecting Military Children Act.” The legislation would have required DFCS to notify the Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program when a child abuse report was received that involved a military family so that the military could also provide supports and services.
Read the full Community Safety plan here.