By Marshall A. Latimore
Councilmember Michael Julian Bond, joined by members of the Atlanta City Council, honored Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Monday afternoon with a proclamation that celebrated the two-term governor’s accomplishments, including his reform of the state’s criminal justice system.
Bond was joined by the entire Atlanta City Council and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in recognizing the governor during the Council’s first meeting of 2019.
“Most people don’t realize this but many of the Atlanta zip codes were the biggest contributors to the country’s high penal system numbers,” Bond said. “As a former corrections officer, I can tell you that the work that you have done over at the state of Georgia has been tremendous and it deserves recognition. You have civilized our criminal justice system.”
Deal made overhauling the state’s criminal justice system a top priority after taking office in January 2011. At the time, Georgia was in the midst of a criminal justice crisis due to high incarceration costs and recidivism rates.
Deal’s reforms have saved taxpayers more than $200 million, reduced the number of prison beds, and changed the way the state punishes non-violent offenders.
“To all of those of you who have spoken and presented these plaques and other memorabilia, I want to say thank you to you and those you represent,” Deal said. “It has been my great honor, along with that of my wife, to be able to serve as the first family for the state of Georgia these last eight years.”
Deal’s term as governor of Georgia will end on Jan. 14 when Governor-elect Brian Kemp will assume office.
This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Voice.