ATLANTA – Wednesday’s inaugural meeting of the Board of Community Supervision launched a new state agency that will oversee all adult and child law breakers who aren’t behind bars while serving their sentence.

The Department of Community Supervision begins on the first day of the state’s new budget year by taking control of assets and manpower from the Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. It came from a recommendation by the governor’s justice-reform task force to save money, streamline administration and improve efforts to keep offenders from getting into trouble again.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Community Supervision Commissioner Michael Nail. “A lot of work has been done in the past 90 days.”

Nail and his top managers have begun meetings with law enforcement, judicial and social-work counterparts in each of the state’s 49 judicial circuits, starting with Augusta, Buford and DeKalb already. And graduation for the first 27 officers trained by the agency will take place later this month.

“We wanted to be as lean as it could be but be extremely functional,” Nail said.

The board, which was greeted by a standing-room-only crowd and homemade cookies from an agency secretary, met for just 35 minutes. It elected its chairman, Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson, and voted to give Nail full policy-making authority.

“I think it will save you a lot of work,” Nail told the board.

Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles made the motion to give so much power to Nail.

“It’s one of those critical parts of everything we do at the commissioners’ level to have that discretion, so I’ll therefore make the motion,” Niles said.

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