Serving Peach, Crawford and Bibb Counties
The Georgia Legislature created the Georgia Accountability Court Program, one of several significant criminal justice reform initiatives established to provide effective alternatives to sentencing for nonviolent offenders and reduce the state's prison population. The stated objectives of the Accountability Court Program are to:
- Take Georgia’s Accountability Courts to scale;
- Reduce incarceration rates;
- Determine Accountability Court funding priorities;
- Encourage adherence to standards; and
- Save lives and restore families.
The Macon Judicial Circuit currently offers four Accountability Court programs: Macon Judicial Circuit Drug Court, Macon Judicial Circuit Mental Health Court , Macon Judicial Circuit Problem Solving Court and Macon Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court. Currently these court sessions are all conducted in Macon and Peach County residents who are referred to the programs must have transportation to and from Macon.
The mission of the Macon Judicial Circuit Accountability Courts is to enhance public safety through a coordinated effort of treatment and intense supervision within the judicial system by promoting abstinence, law-abiding behavior, compliance, and participation through prompt intervention. The goal is to reduce the recidivism rate by offering the offender an alternative to incarceration and the tools to abstain from illegal activity through a combined effort of cost-effective measures encourage the offender to become a productive and law-abiding citizen. Those who violate the program terms and are terminated from the program may face probation revocation and prison sentences.
The primary purpose of the Drug Court Program is to provide a rehabilitative alternative to incarceration and/or commitment to the Department of Community Supervision for the substance abusing offender. The program is a three-phase intervention program that involves individual, family, and group counseling; frequent and random drug testing; frequent court appearances.
The Court awards incentives for compliant behavior and imposes sanctions for negative behavior. Participants who do not comply with the rules may be moved back to a previous phase of the program, assigned community service work, or placed in temporary custody. Successful completion of the program results in charges being purged from the official record.
The mission of the Drug Court Program is to reduce crime and recidivism by substance-abusing offenders. The benefits of this program are an increase in the safety and security of the shareholders of this community, a reduction in the jail population, and reduction in the number of infants addicted to illegal drugs at birth.
Mental health court
The Macon Judicial Circuit has instituted a voluntary Mental Health Court based on proven national research and program models overseen by the Honorable Judge Verda M. Colvin. The Mental Health Court provides clients with an opportunity to pursue treatment for their mental health needs, while productively addressing associated legal problems.
The Mental Health Court was implemented in January 2009 under the direction of Superior Court Judge Phillip Brown. The court is a partnership between the Judge, District Attorney, Solicitor-General, Probation, Law Enforcement, Treatment Team, Defense Counsel and the community. This treatment program is typically 12 to 24 months in duration and consists of five phases.Participants are expected to take classes, undergo treatment, and participate in self-help activities and any other required activates required by the treatment team to meet individual needs. Participants are routinely drug tested and provided support to live a lifestyle free of drugs and alcohol.
The Mental Health Court Program admits those individuals charged with crimes in which mental illness was a substantial contributing factor and whose mental illness can be treated and stabilized. Counties served include Bibb, Crawford and Peach. Potential clients must live in, and/ or have legal charges in these counties and must have dependable transportation to Macon.
Mental Health Court is designed to not only impact the lives of the participants enrolled in the program, but also to offer cost avoidance to the count and increase safety and provide productive citizens back into the local community! Specific benefits include:
- Remove clients from the county jail
- Increase Public Safety
- Reduce Recidivism
- Reduce cost to the county
- Rehabilitate residents of Peach, Crawford and Bibb Counties!
Parental Accountability Court
The Parental Accountability Court Program (PAC) is the result of cooperative partnerships between multiple Judicial Circuits, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services. PAC seeks to address underlying issues that make it difficult for non-custodial parents to pay child support while providing Judges with an alternative to incarceration in civil contempt cases.
The Parental Accountability Court (PAC), formerly known as Problem Solving Court, seeks to remove the underlying issues that cause noncustodial parents (NCP) to become chronic non-payers of child support. This program will provide an alternative to incarceration.
Once accepted into the program, and after consenting to the PAC Terms and Conditions, the participant’s role is to utilize community resources and Workforce Training volunteer work to achieve self-sufficiency. Participants can do this by obtaining sustainable employment, and by removing chronic barriers such as education and transportation. They shall actively seek employment forty hours per week while unemployed. The participant shall complete the intake process, attend regular group sessions, meet with their Coordinator as specified, stay in compliance with the service providers, and cooperate with DCSS. Completion of skills classes is required. Once gainfully employed, participants must make regular payment of child support obligations and arrears, as ordered.
Participants receive many benefits that help them find employment. These include: driver license renewal assistance, vital records / documentation assistance, adult education referrals, no-cost vocational training opportunities, work opportunity internships, job search and resume writing, and finally, employer referrals for participants who complete intake and enter phase one.
Veterans Treatment Court
The voluntary Veterans Treatment Court Program is a collaboration between the Superior Court, the State Court, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, the Peach County Sheriff’s Office, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, the State Court of Bibb County Probation Department and State of Georgia Department of Community Supervision.
The goal of Veterans Court is to link veterans in the criminal justice system with needed services that may include, but are not limited to, substance abuse treatment, PTSD treatment, mental health treatment and community resources that will improve the veteran’s life and eliminate further involvement with the criminal justice system.
The mission of the Veterans Treatment Court Program is to enhance public safety and reduce recidivism of criminal defendants who are veterans by connecting them with VA benefits, treatment services and supports and to find appropriate dispositions to their criminal charges by considering the defendant’s treatment needs and the seriousness of the offense.