Approximately 4.2 million Georgians have a criminal record. The research is clear that the two most important stabilizers for a person with a criminal record are gainful employment and reliable housing, yet Georgia is one of the worst states in the country for a person with a criminal record to access employment, housing, and other opportunities that pave the way to a productive life. In 2008, Georgia Justice Project (GJP) created the Criminal Records Program to assist people whose criminal record acts as a barrier to opportunities. The Criminal Records Program does this through direct representation of clients and working to change the laws in Georgia, to reduce legal barriers to reentry.
Recent changes in Georgia law allow more relief and greater opportunities in certain situations for people with criminal records. In an attempt to meet this overwhelming need for legal representation for people with a criminal history, GJP expanded the reach of the Criminal Records Program with the addition of a monthly legal clinic in 2014. The clinic matches up pro bono lawyers with clients to assist them in their journey to remove obstacles to employment, housing and other opportunities. By volunteering through the clinic, you can impact the rest of a person’s life and help them move forward to becoming a productive member of society.
- WHO? Law firms, corporate legal departments and individual attorneys! We are looking for 5-7 lawyers to commit to each clinic. Each lawyer will be matched with one or two clients at the clinic. Most files require 5-10 hours of work.
- WHAT? Meet with clients to explain their record and the law to them. Assist clients in filing applications for record restriction (expungement) of their criminal records, as well as filing related Motions and Petitions. Work can also include making corrections to criminal histories and applying for pardons. Cases are pre-screened. Work ranges from administrative to court appearances. GJP has created a comprehensive manual and template documents to assist in representing clients.
- WHEN? The 2nd Friday of each month from 9-11 a.m.
- WHERE? 438 Edgewood Avenue, Atlanta, 30312 in our recently renovated office space in the Old Fourth Ward (near the King Center).
- HOW TO GET INVOLVED? GJP offers a CLE twice a year which provides the training you will need to represent clients through the Clinic. Contact Molly Scott at GJP at 404-827-0027, ext. 234 or molly@GJP.org to discuss any questions and let us know you are interested.