Macon’s newest district attorney details her plans over breakfast

Anita+Howard+speaking+at+the+podium+next+to+Aubrey+Evans+during+her+%22Breakfast+%26+Briefing%22+event.

Keith Holmes, Jr

Anita Howard speaking at the podium next to Aubrey Evans during her “Breakfast & Briefing” event.

Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney Anita Howard held a “breakfast and briefing” Wednesday morning where she detailed what her leadership team has been doing and what her office will be doing in the community. 

Some of the key initiatives she discussed include:

Cases 

Despite the court system not opening until March, Howard’s office placed an emphasis on “disposing non-violent offender cases” and was able to get those cases moving.

Howard and her office have indicted “over 400 cases” since they began work on Jan. 1.

According to Howard, trials resumed in April in Peach County and in May in Bibb County.

Victims and Witnesses (protection and services) 

Pam Faison is heading the Victim-Witness Assistance Program at the Macon Judicial Court. 

Howard called Faison and her staff of Victim Advocates, “our frontline at the DA’s office” during the briefing. 

The Macon Judicial Circuit is also providing a certified emotional support animal in the form of Lamar, Howard’s dog. He is available to aid with victim interactions including child victims. 

Youth Death/Violence 

Howard and her team created a Public Service Announcement about youth gun violence aimed to tell the story of a family in Bibb county directly affected by gun violence. 

“I can sit here and talk to you about violence and use data,” Howard said. “But to me, it’s nothing like hearing how violence has affected real lives.” 

Along with the youth gun violence PSA, Howard also spoke about child deaths related to co-sleeping while joined by Assistant District Attorney Cara Fiore. 

In the video, Fiore said that, “in 2020 37 percent of child deaths in Bibb county were the result of unsafe sleeping environments. And already in 2021, those deaths are continuing to rise at 33 percent.”

Both Howard and Fiore want to bring awareness to youth mortality rates in an effort to curb both co-sleeping deaths and youth gun violence. 

Youth Engagement 

Howard’s R.I.S.E or Restoring Inspiration

by Success in Education was also announced. The program, which is expected to start in the fall, focuses on non-violent youth offenders to try and remove them from the criminal justice system. 

R.I.S.E is partnering with schools in Bibb, Crawford, and Peach counties along with community stakeholder organizations, faith based organizations and youth advocates.  The Macon Judicial Circuit was awarded $750,000 to increase the impact of the R.I.S.E program.

Along with R.I.S.E, the Macon Judicial Circuit is starting the Junior Justice League, which is designed “for middle school students to learn more about the criminal justice system through positive interactions,” according to the circuit’s magazine. The Junior Justice League is expected to start in summer of 2021. 

Accountability Council

The Accountability Council is composed of nine members that all live in Bibb, Crawford or Peach counties along with two advisory members. The council aims to “bring accountability and transparency” to the Macon Judicial Circuit.

Howard called the accountability council, “a step toward justice.” 

Some of the council’s members will only be serving two years, allowing for others to take their place. There will also be a sub-council that can include up to 15 community stakeholders.

Howard said she wants the council to stay “diverse in gender, diverse in background, diverse in political affiliation, diverse in perspective, because our community is diverse.” 

Sub Council 

The Reverend Bryant W. Raines Faith, Hope, and Community sub-council was unveiled, though Howard did not go into detail about the specific role of this sub-council. 

The council is named after Raines who died in February due to complications from COVID-19. 

Howard said Raines, “was so instrumental not only in supporting me professionally, but also supporting me, personally.” 

Compass Cares 

Howard is also in partnership with Compass Cares, a medical center that provides, “care under the medical direction of world-renowned infectious disease doctors and spearheading new approaches to HIV/AIDS care.” 

Howard ran a PSA about Compass Cares where she said the medical center had, “a wonderful facility over there where they can get the treatment that is needed as well as digital services, medical exam services.” 

Closing Remarks

Later in the day, Howard hosted a Virtual Community Town Hall where she discussed, “the progress the DA’s office has made through the pandemic.” 

Information about other events can be found on Howard’s Facebook page.