More than 500 people have been banished from Georgia’s Houston County since 1998, reports the Macon (GA) Sun News. District Attorney Kelly Burke said banishment isn't designed to send criminals to other counties, or it would be used all the time. The 500th person to be banished was Michael Denton, 38, who drove from Atlanta to forge a check. He was sentenced to five years probation and to stay out of Houston County. “He actually came down here to do the crime,” Burke said. “That's why he was banished.”
Banishment gives victims peace of mind so that they can safely go to a restaurant or to a child's soccer game without the offender showing up and claiming they didn't know the victim was at the restaurant or the game – a common scenario that plays out in restraining orders, Burke said. The offender is simply not allowed to be in Houston County, and ignoring that order can violate an offender's probation and send them to jail, he said. With 500 cases of banishment over a fairly long period in a single Georgia county, we should be able to move past anecdote and be able to collect some empirical evidence about whether banishment is an effective sentencing provision for certain classes of offenders.