Echols County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,034. The county seat is Statenville. Statenville is a disincorporated municipality, making Echols the only county in Georgia to have no incorporated towns. The county was established in 1858 and named in honor of Robert Milner Echols (1798–1847).
Echols County has become notable in recent years as it has served as a place of banishment for many of Georgia's criminals. As the Georgia State Constitution forbids banishment beyond the borders of the state, officials instead ban the offender from 158 of Georgia's 159 counties, with Echols remaining as their only option. Few criminals have been documented as actually moving to Echols, because almost all banished criminals choose to leave the state instead.
Banishment, including 158 county banishment, has repeatedly been upheld by Georgia courts. The first case when banishment was upheld was in the 1974 case State v Collett, when the Ga Supreme Court upheld the banishment of a drug dealer from seven counties. The most recent time banishment was upheld, in 2011, the Ga Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional to banish David Nathan Thompson (a mentally ill man who was convicted of firing a gun into a home, although nobody was injured) from all but one county in Georgia.