Georgia Justice Project & the Second Chance for Georgia Campaign had two very successful years, with the passage of Senate Bill 288 in 2020, which expanded expungement of convictions, and Senate Bill 105 in 2021, which expanded eligibility for early termination of felony probation.
By partnering with diverse coalitions of organizations and leveraging support from the business community, GJP was able to pass two laws that remove barriers to reentry. Over 1 million Georgians are now eligible for record restriction and almost 45,000 eligible for early termination of felony probation, which will enable these Georgians to move on from their past and access economic opportunity.
SB 288 significantly expands expungement in Georgia by providing for restriction and sealing of certain misdemeanor and felony convictions, and provides protections for employers who engage in second chance hiring. An individual may petition the court to restrict and seal up to two misdemeanor convictions from their record four years after they have completed their sentence as long as they have not been convicted of a new offense in those four years. Certain misdemeanor offenses are excluded. Also, SB 288 allows an individual to petition to restrict and seal pardoned felony offenses, except serious violent felonies and serious sex offenses. Law enforcement retains access to the records. Also provides liability protection for employers when criminal history information is irrelevant, has been pardoned or restricted, or concerns an arrest that did not lead to a conviction.
SB 105 Expands eligibility for early termination of felony probation by creating a uniform pathway for early termination that all individuals can access after serving three years of probation. An individual qualifies for early termination if they have (1) no new arrests; (2) no probation revocations in the last twenty-four months; and (3) paid all restitution. If an individual qualifies, their probation officer will submit an order to terminate on their behalf to the sentencing Court. In certain circumstances, the probation officer will also submit a progress report stating whether the individual meets the qualifications for early termination. The Court must grant the order unless the prosecutor or the Judge requests a hearing within thirty days. If a hearing is requested, it must be set within ninety days. Also allows individuals who do not meet the previously listed criteria to pursue early termination of their felony probation sentence by filing a motion, and a hearing must be set within ninety days of submitting the motion.
For more information about GJP’s policy priorities in the 2022 legislative session, click here.