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Local prosecutors to host 'life changes' forum

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

Clayton County's district attorney and solicitor general, along with the University of Phoenix, will host a free event Saturday to promote "life changes," which will include information sessions, entertainment and food.

"What we're trying to do is to give people a guideline for changing things in their lives, so they won't do the same thing in 2010 that they did in '09, that would lead them to see me, or Tracy's office," said Clayton County Solicitor Gen. Tasha Mosley, and referencing District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.

The event is scheduled to take place from 2 p.m., until 5 p.m., at the Eula Wilborn Ponds Perry Center for Learning, located at 137 Spring St., in Jonesboro, according to Mosley.

"This is an effort to emphasize preventing crimes, rather than focusing on prosecuting crimes," added Lawson.

Mosley and Lawson will be the opening speakers at the event, and will address the future of Clayton County, according to Mosley. "Probably, we'll talk about the crime rate, giving people an update, and the impact on Clayton County as a whole," Mosley said.

Break-out sessions will be held to address challenges facing youths and adults, said Mosley. "We really want people to bring their kids out. We're separating the adults from the children," she said.

A group called the Atlanta Transition Team is scheduled to present a play, with music, intended to entertain, educate, and encourage young people to take leadership roles, and to affect change, according to a press statement from the Solicitor General's Office.

"They're [children] beginning in elementary school, and you're starting to see the cliquish, gangish behavior in middle school, and by the time they get to high school, it's full blown," said Mosley.

The members of the Atlanta Transition Team are persons who have served time in prison, and can tell young people, first-hand, why they should avoid associations and behaviors that may lead to criminal activity, according to Lawson. "They've been in the prison system, and they come to tell kids to stay in school ..." she said.

"When I was a juvenile court judge, we used them effectively in preventing crime by juveniles. If it saves one or two kids, then it's worth it," said Lawson.

Adults who attend the event will participate in a forum, which will include topics on financial issues, domestic violence, and discussions on how to overcome life's challenges.

"My prosecutors, and victims' services will be there, because some people might feel better one-on-one," said Mosley. "They'll be available to speak to the individuals, to help them get help for their plan, and to get out of the situation they're in.

"There's a correlation with the economy," she said. "We're trying to give them information on how not to get caught up in bad situations. If money's bad, slapping your wife is not going to help. If you're feeling like you need to strike out, walk out of the house. Don't go drinking, or picking up a gun," she said.

"If you are in a financial bind, do not go buy a new automobile. If you're having problems making your mortgage right now, you don't need to go out and buy your kid a new pair of Michael Jordans," she added.

Mosley said organizers of the event have distributed flyers at churches and schools to make parents and other members of the community aware of the event. "This is one of the promises I made to get out into the community. That was one of my campaign promises," she said.

For more information about the event, contact Jenitha Gouch, supervisor of victims' services for the Clayton County Solicitor General's Office, at (770) 477-3380, or contact the Clayton County District Attorney's Office at (770) 477-3450.