Each year, GJP attorneys are able to provide criminal records counseling for about 600 people and actually change the records of about 200 as part of our Coming Home program. As we grow our direct service over the life of our strategic plan, the numbers we are able to serve will increase. However, no matter how large the staff grows, our impact will be limited simply because the number of people who are prevented from obtaining jobs or housing because of a criminal record is so large.
While we will never abandon our direct service to those who need us, we believe that the best opportunity to broaden our impact for those facing the collateral consequences of an arrest or conviction is to seek legislative remedies.
In the last two years, Georgia Justice Project has directed its intellectual and social capital to do just that. In 2009, a book – written by GJP volunteers, Lane Dennard and Pat DiCarlo, was published on the issue in collaboration with Mercer University School of Law.
- Click here for the PDF of Collateral Consequences of Arrest and Convictions: Policy and Law in Georgia
- Email Shannon DeMyers if you’d like a hard copy of the book (Cost: $25)
Largely as a result of the book, GJP was invited by a number of Georgia legislators to redraft our state’s expungement statute. That work bore fruit in 2012 – supported not only by the research but also by the authority that representing more than 600 clients in 2010 alone provided. GJP’s revisions to the expungement statute are included in the Governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Bill which he signed into law on May 2nd, 2012.
- Email Anna Blitz if you’d like to schedule a training on the new statute for your court, office, nonprofit, or other group.
GJP will continue to work with legislators and other advocates to minimize the barriers to a productive life that a criminal record in Georgia imposes.
- Georgia is the second-worst state in the country for systemic barriers to reentry, according to the Legal Action Center.