"On Second Thought" For Monday, Jan. 7, 2019

In his first State of the State speech, Gov. Nathan Deal said criminal justice reform would be at the top of his to-do list. As Deal prepares to leave office eight years later, Georgia's prison population is 12 percent smaller than previously projected. The incarceration rate for black men is down 30 percent and the number of people committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice has dropped 46 percent.

For those who have served time, staying out of the system is an uphill climb, which is where Gangstas to Growers digs in. The Atlanta program helps young people who have been incarcerated get back on track – through urban farming, education and activism. 

Abiodun Henderson founded Gangstas to Growers in 2016 as a training program for formerly incarcerated young adults. Each cohort of trainees learns to farm on black-owned farms around Atlanta. The trainees also learn about entrepreneurship and social issues, like mass incarceration. Henderson and trainees Derriontae Trent and Raven Cantrell stopped by “On Second Thought” to talk about the program.

The indulgences of the holidays are behind us, and Dry January is trending. But that movement to give up drinking alcohol, in this case for a month, is more than a fad for those who struggle with alcohol abuse or other substance abuse addictions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 88,000 Americans die from excessive alcohol use each year. By comparison, drug overdoses amid the opioid crisis caused 72,000 deaths.

Researchers from the University of Washington found the number of deaths attributable to alcohol rose 35 percent from 2007 to 2017 – and Georgia is the state with the second highest rate of deaths, followed by Alabama at No. 3. Neil Campbell, executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, joined "On Second Thought" to talk about barriers Georgians face when it comes to getting treatment for addiction. University of Georgia assistant professor Amanda Abraham also joined the conversation from WUGA in Athens.