NOTE: Many of our volunteer opportunities are occurring virtually due to COVID. Please reach out to Erin Donohue-Koehler at Erin@GJP.org with any questions.
At Georgia Justice Project, we believe: a person is more than their arrest record; mass incarceration destroys communities of color; second chances help individuals, families and communities; and a better criminal justice system is possible. Every year, we consult with and represent hundreds of people across the state to help them overcome the barriers they have faced as a result of an encounter with the criminal legal system. Volunteers are a critical part of helping to reach so many people.
The need is great: over half a million Georgia residents are incarcerated, more than 4 in 10 people released from prison return to prison within three years of their release, approximately 4.3 million people have a Georgia criminal history, and over 370,000 parents are under court order to pay child support in Georgia to support over 550,000 children. Volunteers are a crucial way we try to meet the needs of these directly impacted people.
- Criminal Records Program
- Intake – initial assessment of criminal record and barriers
- Clinic – direct representation on a criminal record issue
- Summits – consulting at large scale record-restriction events
- Appeals – research, writing and oral advocacy on appellate issues
- Re-entry Lawyering for Clients at the Metro Atlanta Re-entry Facility
- Child support – advocating for clients facing legal consequence due to inability to pay child support order
- Detainers – advocating for the removal of detainers which would prevent timely release
- Driver’s License Issues – assisting with re-instatement of driver’s licenses
- Policy Advocacy
- Research – data collection and analysis to support policy agenda
Limited Scope opportunities include:
- Criminal Records Intake (2 hours)
- Thursday mornings or the first Friday of the month, both in person and virtual
- Meet with applicants and discuss their record and barriers
- Record Restriction Summits (3-4 hours)
- Occurring across the state
- Meet with registrants and discuss their criminal record
- Explain what was restricted at the event and what was not, and discuss any other available remedies
- MRF Intake (2 hours)
- The last Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m.
- Meet with Returning Citizens and gather facts about their case
- Child Support Advocacy (3-10 hours)
- Negotiating with Child Support Services agents or attorneys to reinstate drivers licenses, recalculate child support debt, and stop other debt punishments
Full Representation opportunities include:
- Criminal Records Clinic
- Occurs 2nd Friday morning of each month from 9-11AM, in person and virtual
- Discuss with clients their criminal record, Georgia law and the barriers they have faced
- Assist clients in filing Motions and Petitions to restrict and seal their criminal records, for Retroactive First Offender, or for record restriction and Pardons
- Criminal Records Appeals
- Occasionally, a GJP client will be denied an available remedy and the issue will be ripe for appeal
- Conduct legal research and draft briefs
- Argue in Superior Court, the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of Georgia
- Detainers for MRF Clients
- Remove and resolve holds for criminal detainers (criminal defense experience required)
- Suspended Driver’s Licenses for MRF Clients
- Assist with reinstating suspended driver’s licenses through resolving failures to appear for traffic offenses
- Child Support
- Modify child support orders for non-custodial parents, to make child support obligations accurate and affordable for parents
- Represent parents who are charged with Civil Contempt and threatened with jail because of their inability to pay child support debt
- Assist parents with obtaining legitimation, visitation, and custody of their children (only for attorneys with a background in family law)
*time commitment for these opportunities will vary
Want to get involved? GJP offers CLEs several times a year that provide the training needed to represent clients. We also provide template documents, mentorship from experienced attorneys, and malpractice insurance. Contact Erin Donohue-Koehler at 404-827-0027 ext. 236 or erin@GJP.org to learn more.
These are our legal volunteer opportunities for licensed attorneys. If you are interested in our general volunteer opportunities, please click here.