Justice Michael Boggs, Supreme Court of Georgia. (Photo: John Disney/ALM) Justice Michael Boggs, Supreme Court of Georgia. (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

A Georgia Supreme Court justice who served as a leader of Gov. Nathan Deal’s criminal justice reform movement has been chosen to head a national criminal justice advocacy group.

Justice Michael Boggs has been appointed chair of the Council of State Governments Justice Center’s advisory board, the nonprofit organization announced Tuesday.

Boggs served as co-chair of the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council from 2012 to 2018. When he started in that role, he was a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. Deal appointed Boggs to an opening on the Supreme Court in 2016.

Georgia’s criminal justice reform movement spread accountability treatment courts across the state to help nonviolent offenders avoid prison with treatment, counseling, community service and compliance with court requirements, including working and avoiding substance abuse. The movement has been credited with reducing the prison population and reuniting families.

“We are thrilled to have Justice Boggs chair our advisory board,” Megan Quattlebaum, director of the CSG Justice Center, said in a news release Tuesday. “He is a recognized leader on criminal justice issues in Georgia and nationwide, and his experience and perspective as both a legislator and a widely respected judge has been, and will continue to be, invaluable to our work. We particularly value his deep understanding of the needs and opportunities that exist at the intersection of criminal justice and behavioral health.”

Boggs previously served as vice chair of the board—a bipartisan group of legislators, court officials, law enforcement executives and state executive branch leaders. Their focus is on public safety and health. They guide the CSG Justice Center’s outlook and projects, including the National Reentry Resource Center, the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, the Stepping Up Initiative, and a forthcoming project centered on economic mobility, Quattlebaum said.

The group’s work has served as a model for state criminal justice legislation. Georgia integrated CSG Justice Center policy recommendations into legislation that the General Assembly unanimously passed in 2017 to improve sentencing and community supervision practices, Quattlebaum said. Congress also has worked closely with leaders of the board, drawing on recommendations from the CSG Justice Center to shape national policy. Boggs has played an active role in those discussions, visiting Washington, D.C., many times to speak about public safety.

Boggs also is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Council on Criminal Justice, a national criminal justice policy initiative, as well as the Pew Public Safety Performance Project’s Jails/Pretrial and Community Corrections Advisory Council and the National Center for State Courts Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices.

Boggs was elected in 2000 as a Georgia state representative. In 2004, he was elected as a superior court judge for the Waycross Judicial Circuit, where he served until going on the Court of Appeals in 2012. While on the superior court, he founded and presided over the circuit’s first felony drug court.