SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A bill passed during this year’s Georgia legislative session aims to help keep you safe from violent felons.
State Representative Jesse Petrea who represents the Chatham County islands says he has been attacking the issue of parole reform head-on because of the enormity of violent crimes that have happened over the years right in Chatham County.
“Most of those crimes are committed by a small subset of people who commit violent crimes over and over and over again,” said Rep. Petrea.
House Bill 168 is heading to Governor Kemp’s desk to be signed. Petrea says the bill is written to give District Attorneys the ability to request records of the inmates while they’re incarcerated to see if being released is safe for the community.
“In every county in the state every solicitor, every district attorney, that person that is the chief law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction, will have the ability to get this information. It can only make our community safer.”
The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles says they already have access to this information and that they consider it in the decision making process. Petrea says this bill will allow a DA to discuss the information with the board.
“Many of these inmates that were paroled were misbehaving, were committing all kinds of inappropriate acts in prison before they were paroled.”
Petrea calls this bill a ‘victims’ bill’ and itemized in the bill are the most violent felons who’ve committed the most violent crimes. For example, Torrey Scott who Petrea says wreaked havoc on the community a few years ago.
“Raped two young college girls at Savannah State University, kidnapped and raped a nurse in the Candler parking lot and later raped and murdered a woman. All of that calamity committed by a man who was released early on parole.”
Petrea says his mission is public safety.
“This is about keeping the most violent in our prisons off the streets prematurely.”
As is the mission of the pardons and paroles board. In a statement from the board they say “the board will consider any information submitted regarding an offender to support its mission of enhancing public safety for all Georgia citizens.”
We did reach out to the Chatham County District Attorney, Shalena Cook Jones, but were unable to get a statement in time for the story.
Petrea says during the legislative session they passed tons of bills including one that increases penalties on sexual predators.