Atlanta, GA – Tonight, Kelly Loeffler again aimed to divide Georgians by mischaracterizing Reverend Warnock’s stance on cash bail reform and his widely-praised work to reform the criminal justice system.
Reverend Warnock supports ending cash bail for nonviolent misdemeanor offenses only, where an individual would remain in jail simply because they cannot afford bail – not because they had been convicted of any wrongdoing.
Here are the facts:
- The ordinance Loeffler is referring to only applied to nonviolent misdemeanor offenses: “The change, which takes effect in 30 days, gives the Atlanta Detention Center the authority to release on their own recognizance people with pending nonviolent misdemeanor charges or city ordinance violations.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution 2/6/2018]
- The Atlanta City Council passed the cash bail ordinance without objection: “[Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms] said it made no fiscal sense to hold someone who cannot post a $500 bond at a cost to taxpayers of thousands of dollars. After six hours of public comment and debate Monday afternoon, the City Council approved the ordinance 13-0 over the objections of the bail-bond industry.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution 2/6/2018]
- Reverend Warnock has long advocated for an end to mass incarceration and has worked to help non-violent ex-offenders clear their records, which can often be a major barrier to ex-offenders gaining employment and housing, and can contribute to recidivism: “A multi-faith conference centered around criminal justice reform is convening in Atlanta. It’s called ‘End Mass Incarceration Conference,’ the brainchild of Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Raphael Warnock. The three-day event is taking place at Ebenezer. Warnock has long focused on helping end mass incarceration. He said the church leaders should be at the front of the changes they wish to see happening.” [CBS46, 6/17/19]
- Many of Loeffler’s Senate Republican colleagues, including Senator Perdue, support efforts to reform the criminal justice system:
- David Perdue: The First Step Act Made The Criminal Justice System “Fairer To All Americans,” Following Georgia’s Lead In Reducing Recidivism, Improving Re-Entry Programs. “The improved First Step Act will make our federal criminal justice system fairer to all Americans, while maintaining severe deterrents to criminal behavior…[F]or years, Georgia has been leading the nation in reducing recidivism, providing drug rehabilitation, and increasing job training opportunities in our state prison system. This bipartisan effort is a model for breaking through the gridlock in Washington and actually getting things done.” [Office of Sen. David Perdue, Press Release, 12/18/18]
- Lindsey Graham Called The First Step Act “A Major Accomplishment And Long Overdue,” Praising Its Measures To Reduce Recidivism Rates And Reduce Sentences For Nonviolent Offenders. “Passage of the First Step Act is a major accomplishment and long overdue. This bill does two important things: lowers the recidivism rate and reduces sentences for nonviolent offenders which allows us to direct resources towards truly dangerous criminals. For a nonviolent offender to be released early, the offender has to acquire a necessary skill-set to be more productive once released.” [Office of Sen. Lindsey Graham, Press Release, 12/19/18]
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