GJP Board Members and staff joined Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on the capitol steps on May 2nd as he signed HB 1176, “Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians” into law. The GJP team worked under the Gold Dome for almost three years to advocate for major changes to the state’s record restriction laws. Originally a stand-alone bill sponsored by Representative Jay Neal, the provisions were eventually added to the Governor’s criminal justice reform package and passed by the Georgia General Assembly earlier in 2012.
Under the new law, more Georgians will get the jobs they are qualified for because their nonconviction records will be kept private during pre-employment background checks. GJP supports the entire reform package, because it expands Georgia’s alternative sentencing options, providing for drug treatment and supervised probation in a broader range of cases. These alternatives have been demonstrated to help people overcome addiction, get back to productive lives, and reduce recidivism.
“We are thrilled that our first major effort to advocate for public policies that directly affect our clients has resulted in such a rapid and significant success,” said Executive Director Doug Ammar. “Our 25 years of experience working within the criminal justice system gave us a unique ability to convince leaders of the need for change in the record restriction laws. Moreover, our supporters and clients joined us in speaking up for better laws for Georgia. Going forward, we will continue to look for ways to advocate positive, common-sense changes to the law for the many Georgians who want to get on with their lives and support their families.”