Atlanta Municipal Court Launches Program To Assist Homeless Defendants

Dec 11, 2019

Nearly 1.6 million Americans will likely spend the holidays in a homeless shelter or some form of transitional housing.

A study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty found laws criminalizing homeless people have multiplied in the last decade. Other studies find charges and prosecutions of the homeless does nothing to address its root causes. 

Atlanta Municipal Court Chief Judge Christopher Portis launched a homeless court program this month to support defendants who are homeless with prescribed treatment, judicial monitoring and coordinated services. 

"For me, it's an even bigger issue. I'm a native Atlantan, so I know that Atlanta has been working through various points in homelessness over its history — at least in my lifetime," he said.

Judge Portis also noted the new program will be similar to homeless courts operating in other parts of the country. 

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