Meet Taylor Jones

By Michelle Barclay

Taylor Jones is the new Executive Director for the Council of Accountability Court Judges, having just started on October 15, 2015.  She was the unanimous pick chosen by the Council’s officers.  See:  http://www.gaaccountabilitycourts.org/
 
Previously, Ms. Jones worked as a project manager for FivePoint Solutions where she was responsible for the implementation and management of multiple separate electronic case management systems within Georgia, and she served as a subject matter expert in regards to accountability court data collection, technical assistance, and program procedure.  Before FivePoint, she was director of the accountability court in the Piedmont Judicial Circuit managing three court programs, a staff of seven, and a high million dollar budget.  Taylor also has experience as a probation officer in Athens-Clarke County and she holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from Columbus State University.
 
Michelle Barclay sat down with Ms. Jones recently to ask a few short questions for the November Courts Journal.
 
MB: Taylor, you’ve had your new job for just a month now.  What do you see as your or the biggest challenge facing accountability courts today?
 
altTJ: The biggest challenge for me as director is establishing the staff and getting those staff acclimated to the goals of the Council.  We have a lot of work to do with hiring folks, so I am focused on building the staff support for the Council at this time.  The biggest challenge for the Council is planning the statewide Accountability Court conference which I anticipate will occur in August or September 2016.  This will be a big undertaking, but we look forward to pulling everyone together again to keep learning from presenters and from each other.
 
MB: The governor has made it clear that he wants to see the number of accountability courts increase while he is in office, how much growth do you think is possible over the next 12 to 24 months?
 
TJ:  As of right now, only a few circuits in Georgia do not have any sort of accountability court, and yet I still see steady growth for accountability courts targeting adults such as felony drug courts, mental health courts, veterans.   I also anticipate substantial growth in the area of family dependency courts.  Other jurisdictions could benefit from the establishment of family dependency courts.  We will have five new (four adult and one juvenile) accountability courts coming on board in January 2016. 
 
MB: It seems like your path to your current position is very much a straight line, do you see it that way?
 
TJ:  I do.  I was exposed to accountability courts in my first year as a probation officer.  I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer to do surveillance work as a representative of my Athens-Clarke office for the local mental health court.  So I have had experience with accountability courts my entire career.  I made the decision to do this work because I wanted to see the sometimes revolving door of probation close for offenders who could benefit from mental health and substance abuse treatment, while being held accountable for their actions.  I wanted to be part of a system that, by design, helps people get their lives back on track.   One can become jaded as a probation officer and I saw an opportunity to make a difference which has helped me in this chosen career path.
 
Taylor’s office is currently located at the JC/AOC, 244 Washington Street and she can be reached at 404.656.5171.

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