Policy / Safety and Justice /

Safety and Justice

We cannot punish our way to safety — it has never worked. Georgia must tackle public safety, address violence and advance criminal justice reform to build One Georgia where all of our residents have the opportunity to thrive.

Too many Georgians are afraid to drop their kids off at school, attend a religious service or even go to the grocery store. We must secure our state, and public safety is only part of the equation. We also have to implement reforms and accountability measures to build community trust and confront our failing prison system and support the successful return of citizens who have completed their sentences. 

I am the only candidate for governor with a comprehensive plan to address violent crime and reform our criminal justice system in Georgia.

Fundamental Causes of Violence and Poverty

  • Expand Medicaid to broaden access to mental health and substance abuse treatment and reduce the role of law enforcement in crisis intervention.
  • Support wraparound services for high-risk communities to decrease incident rates, including targeting challenged schools/neighborhoods that produce a disproportionate number of youth offenders.
  • Require civil rather than criminal penalties for certain traffic and low-level drug offenses to reduce recidivism and escalation of criminal behavior.
  • Target programs to increase educational and community opportunities for at-risk young people beginning in 3rd grade through joint projects with schools and nonprofits.
  • Secure mental health and behavioral therapy for highest-risk youth and offer family interventions.
  • Expand employment training and opportunities, including apprenticeships, for high-risk youth.

Gun Violence

  • Coordinate with and secure financial incentives for local governments, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations to design and implement violence intervention programs.
  • Reduce guns on the streets by repealing bills that needlessly endanger Georgians — including criminal carry, campus carry, and the 2014 “Guns Everywhere” law.
  • Close the background check loophole for private transfers and gun show sales.
  • Close the domestic violence perpetrators loophole.
  • Adopt red flag legislation to prevent those who have been reported for protective actions or who pose a danger to themselves or others from purchasing a weapon.

Gun Safety

As governor, I will pursue policies to strengthen gun safety laws in Georgia because we can protect the Second Amendment and protect second graders in our state. I will repeal “criminal carry” and require gun owners to apply for a license to carry concealed weapons in public and close the gun show/private sale loopholes. I will support universal background checks and limiting access to guns for perpetrators of domestic violence and stalking.

Repeal Criminal Carry

In 2020, 5,300 people who applied for permits to carry hidden weapons were rejected. The current governor champions legislation that makes it easier for criminals to carry concealed weapons without a permit. His plan arms these individuals and sends them on the street, our churches, and our schools. It also creates a loophole for domestic abusers and the mentally ill to avoid detection and secure lethal weapons.

Repeal Campus Carry, ‘Guns Everywhere,’ and Gun Return Laws

Georgia university administrators, educators, pastors and parishioners, and a majority of Georgians oppose these anti-safety laws. I would also reform the “Gun Return” law, which is currently opposed by law enforcement because it requires that guns used to commit crime be put back onto the street.

Close the Domestic Violence Loophole

Georgia must pass legislation to stop perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking from accessing guns. Laws in other states address this “relinquishment gap,” and have lowered firearm-related intimate partner homicides by 14%.

Close the Gun Show Loophole

Georgia law explicitly blocks any local government from regulating gun shows in any manner. Because of this, there are no regulations that require people who purchase guns from private sellers to undergo background checks, as otherwise required when purchasing from a licensed dealer. 

Protect People Experiencing Mental Illness and Their Families

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 restrict access to firearms temporarily. Georgia should adopt other states' legislation that allows families to petition for extreme risk protection orders.

Recidivism and Re-entry

  • Establish a new Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Task Force that builds on Governor Nathan Deal’s legacy by reconvening stakeholders — including law enforcement, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, judges, advocates, and formerly incarcerated Georgians — to collaborate on evidence-based solutions to our public safety challenges.
  • Restore and expand proven interventions like eliminating private probation, expand diversion programs and funding accountability courts such as veterans’ courts and drug courts.
  • Realign investments in treatment, education, and job training that will enable people to live crime-free lives after release.
  • Strengthen self-help programs for people released from prison.
  • Expand access to mental health and substance abuse treatment through Medicaid expansion.
  • Incentivize employers to hire people reentering their community.
  • Enact Clean Slate legislation that offers automatic clearing of criminal records once someone remains crime-free for a set period of time.

Law Enforcement

  • Raise base salary for state patrol, correctional officers (adult and juvenile), and community supervision officers to approximately $50,000/year and offer proportionate increases based on experience, which will improve recruitment and retention efforts to address severe staffing shortages, at a two-year cost of $91M per year. 
  • Provide $25M in state grants to local agencies for salary raises to support living wages and incentivize local housing options, rather than deferring support to the public through problematic tax credit programs that have proven uneven or insufficient in other sectors.
  • Secure and regularize mental health supports at every level of law enforcement, including reducing stigma and expanding self-reporting options.
  • Invest in expanded training and collaborative support, like crisis officers who specialize in mental health and social service.

Community Trust and Accountability

  • Develop and enforce guidelines for key police department policies that govern community relations and transparency.
  • Partner with Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Program (GA POST) to fortify training standards that address use of force, de-escalation, and crisis intervention and tie increased state funding to local department adoption of best practices.
  • Require accountability for unlawful law enforcement and correctional violence and misconduct.
  • Provide and maintain a statewide database of law enforcement officers dismissed for violation of standards to help other law enforcement agencies make informed hiring decisions.
Policy / Safety and Justice /
Stacey walking with two young supporters
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