Initiatives

Access to Justice:

These initiatives seek to assure that all Georgia community members enjoy the guarantees of liberty and due process provided by our federal and state constitutions.

JUSTGeorgia: Building Justice and Safety For Children

JUSTGeorgia is a partnership of Georgia Appleseed and two other major child advocacy groups. It is now focused on assisting in the effective implementation of the revised Georgia Juvenile Code, which became effective on January 1, 2014 following lengthy advocacy by the JUSTGeorgia partnership.

Race, Law Enforcement & the Law

This initiative seeks to assure public confidence and trust among law enforcement personnel and all members of the communities they serve. Recent highly publicized tragic encounters
around the country and in Georgia resulting in the deaths of primarily minority community members motivated us to identify law and policy changes that will reduce the likelihood that such incidents will occur in the future and that will assure that the criminal investigation and charging decisions following any incidents that do occur are carried out in a fair and impartial manner.

Due Process for Forensic Patients

The "forensic units" of several of Georgia's state hospitals house individuals who have been accused of a crime but who have been determined to be nonrestorably incompetent to stand trial. In partnership with Atlanta Legal Aid, this project focuses on whether these persons are being maintained in state custody in accordance with constitutional and statutory requirements.

Incapacitated Elders

Georgia Appleseed is working with the probate courts in Georgia to assess the effectiveness of a state law designed to create temporary medical guardians to assist incapacitated elders, who have outlived relatives and close friends, to make key medical and end of life decisions.

Imposition of Court Fees and Costs on Indigent Defendants

Relatively minor violations of criminal and traffic laws can result in court-imposed fines along with associated fees and costs. Indigent defendants who are unable to pay amounts due can find themselves in a devastating spiral of potential incarceration and job loss. This initiative examines the extent to which these circumstances arise in Georgia and how they can be avoided.

Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline:

All of Georgia’s children should earn a high quality high school education so that they are ready for college or career. These initiatives focus on efforts to reduce reliance on exclusionary disciplinary techniques so that we “keeps kids in class” while maintaining a safe and productive learning environment for all students.

Effective Student Discipline: Keeping Kids in Class

Using Georgia Department of Education (DOE) data acquired pursuant to a confidentiality agreement and the results of an extensive stakeholder interview process, Georgia Appleseed informs local communities about student discipline outcomes and their impact on the school to prison pipeline.

Productive Learning Environments

Georgia Appleseed is advocating for expanded use of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) school climate change framework as an effective alternative to exclusionary discipline.

Keeping Kids in Class Toolkit

This handy Toolkit located on the Georgia Appleseed website is brimming with information, data and ideas to help parents, local community leaders, and others committed to student success to work together with principals and teachers to help achieve this goal.

Model Student Code of Conduct

Georgia Appleseed seeks to initiate a review and revision of the state model student code of conduct to assure that it is aligned with current best practices with regard to student discipline and is consistent with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

Student Tribunal Project/Foster Child Representation

This project assesses the fairness of the administrative hearing (“Tribunal”) used when students and their parents seek review of proposed school discipline involving out of school suspensions of greater than 10 days.

Innovative Alternatives to Exclusionary Student Discipline

This project evaluates options for innovative alternatives and the resources needed to implement them in Georgia K-12 public schools. Some Georgia public schools have already adopted alternative discipline practices, offering promising models that keep kids in class and help transform the school-to-prison pipeline into a path from school-to-success.

Educational Stability for Children in Care

5% of foster children end up homeless and 25% of male foster kids end up in prison. Only 3% graduate from college. In partnership with Families First, a nonprofit with a long history of seeking sustainable solutions for children and their families, this project seeks to enhance 'education stability' to Children in Care and improve educational focus and outcomes. Key activities include monitoring implementation of recent policy changes at the state level and creating an Education Advocates Program to assist individual foster children achieve educational stability and success.

Erasing the Opportunity Gap

Educational resources may be inequitably allocated among schools within a school district often as a result of inattention. This initiative seeks to highlight both this potential challenge and the availability of a tool that will allow school officials, parent s and others to assess whether the education resource “playing field” is level for all students in the district.

Heirs Property Project:

Georgia Heirs Property Project

Georgia Heirs Property Law Center

Georgia Appleseed seeks to incubate a legal clinic (that will ultimately be independent) to provide low and moderate income families, including many seniors, with legal assistance to resolve heir property and related issues.

Innovations in Social Justice:

We seek to look over the horizon to identify new and innovative ways that the challenges of poverty, racism and all forms of injustice can be met.

Pay for Success

Accessing adequate governmental tax resources to support vital social justice reform programs is and very likely will continue to be a major challenge. This initiative explores ways in which private social impact investment techniques could be used in Georgia to supplement public funding.