Organize the South
Thanks to the efforts of numerous groups including the Georgia Citizens' Coalition on Hunger, the Americus and Sumter Branches of the NAACP, and the Southern Center for Human Rights, private probation has been kicked out of Sumter County, Georgia. For background on private probation, check out this 2008 Mother Jones article. Details on the victory are below care of The AmericUSumter Observer.
Through many prayers, tireless efforts from Georgia Citizens' Coalition on Hunger, represented by Director, Minister Sandra Roberson, NUBIA Grand Hierophant Mr. Eugene Edge, and the Americus and Sumter County Branch of the NAACP, represented by President Matt Wright and his staff, private probation as we know it will no longer exist in Americus and Sumter County, Georgia. The pleasant winds of change that were championed by Judge Rucker Smith and the Sumter County Commissioners, produced a landmark decision to do away with private probation in Americus and Sumter County.
We spoke with one of the commissioners and were told that after the NAACP, and the other organizations met with the Americus City Council with complaints from citizens, some on probation and the unified front of organizations against private probation, the decision was made to remove the last private probation office. Final details have not been completely worked out, but we do expect private probation to be long-gone from our County and City no later than April 01, 2010.
NAACP President Matt Wright stated that "he was overwhelmed by the sudden move toward justice. I expected this to eventually come to pass, but not this soon." Wright also expressed thanks to organizers Anginette Dodson, Minister Linda Wright, Assistant Police Chief Nelson Brown, Colonel Eric Bryant, other volunteers and the probationers who were not afraid to stand-up for their rights afforded to them by the U.S. Constitution. President Wright also noted that there could be a possible problem with the Judge who presides over City Court and that he and organizational partners are getting ready to set up a meeting with the Judge to pursue the issues. Wright said that Minister Robertson said she and her organization were very pleased, and that Sumter County was the only area that she knew of in the state of Georgia that has successfully won the probation fight against private probation companies.
Grand Hierophant, Edge said that, "the effort was a continued struggle for us at the office and those who were probationers in the county. I am reminded of a saying from a great African proverb, "A life of ease will sometimes allow us to forget struggle; therefore we must always be reminded of what it took to establish justice for the probationers." Wright closed by saying, "there is nothing better than swift justice." The first private probation company in Americus, Middle Georgia Probation, was run out with the help of the Law Office of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, GA. Kori Chen, one of the organizers, assisted our local NAACP and the other organizations in removing Middle Georgia Probation. We are so very appreciative of their dedicated service to so many communities in Georgia, says President Wright.