SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) — Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook-Jones held a public forum during the Savannah Branch NAACP meeting to speak to citizens about initiatives she’s started since taking office.

On Sunday, at the historic First African Baptist Church, Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook-Jones held an open meeting to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our community like violent crime, gun violence and gang activity.

“The infiltration of drugs causes a drug economy, and with that drug economy comes more guns, more gang activity, more organized crime, more shootings, more armed robberies, more aggravated assaults and more murders,” said Cook-Jones. 

Cook-Jones points to Chatham County having the highest rate of recidivism in the entire country. She wants to see more opportunities for criminals to be able to clean their records with ease allowing more people a chance to segway back into the community after their release. 

“In our American society the idea is that if you build the jails, you will have people to fill them,” Cook-Jones states, “so the question becomes is it the criminal mind of criminal intent that’s driving crime up, or is it our philosophy, policies and practices,”

She also wants to see more resources made available for her office, to allow for the creation of more programs and ways to intercept potentially troubled individuals early, instead of taking a reactive approach.

Cook-Jones said, “Right now my office is struggling, working very very hard to balance justice and equity for victims and defendants for twice as many cases as before, half the manpower and insufficient resources.”