Amid growing acknowledgment for efforts to reduce prison recidivism rates in Georgia, the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) has been named as a finalist for the highly competitive Atlas Network Templeton Freedom Award.

The honor recognizes GCO for recent efforts to assist formerly incarcerated individuals with successful reintegration into society. Through work with several community partners, the organization has orchestrated an effort that focuses on the rehabilitation and restoration of former offenders with their family and community. Aiming to help newly-released individuals gain employment and reconnect with their loved ones, GCO’s program has been credited with positively impacting the state’s justice system.

“We’re humbled to be considered as a global leader in promoting freedom and human flourishing, and congratulate the other finalists for their tremendous successes,” said Randy Hicks, President and CEO of GCO.

“Several hard-won policy changes and the work of many partners have contributed to a reduction of inmates in the state’s prison system,” Hicks added. “We predict the reforms spearheaded by GCO will continue to allow more individuals to successfully reenter society and become less likely to recidivate.”

The Atlas Network’s CEO, Brad Lips, praised GCO’s innovative approach to criminal justice reform.

“GCO’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative demonstrates that compassion for the incarcerated and their families can be aligned with the interests of taxpayers and public safety,” Lips said. “It’s a wonderful initiative that deserves to be emulated.”

GCO is included among seven globally-selected finalists who have made strides in public policy that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment via free competition. Other finalists include the Beacon Center of Tennessee, based in Nashville, Tenn., the IMANI Center for Policy and Education, based in Accra, Ghana, Instituto de Estudos Empresariais (IEE), based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (IMCO), based in Mexico City, Mexico, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute for Public Policy (MLI), based in Ottawa, Canada.

All finalists will receive $25,000, while the winning organization will receive $100,000.

The winner of the Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award will be announced during the Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner in New York City on November 8.

To learn more about policy solutions championed in GCO’s prisoner re-entry work visit



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