US: Helping Former Prisoners Rebuild Their Lives After Incarceration

GJP’s Executive Director, Douglas Ammar, was interviewed about “Ban the Box” for this article in the Equal Times.  

Equal times article

“Lawyer-author Michelle Alexander and others have made progress in recent years in raising awareness about such issues, says Doug Ammar, executive director of the Georgia Justice Project. For three decades, the Atlanta-based project has provided legal services for poor people accused of crimes, as well as services and advocacy for those leaving prison.

In 2015, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal signed an executive order banning the state from asking about criminal histories on job applications.

If the past comes up later during an interview, at least the applicant would have a chance to explain and make a case for being hired nonetheless, Deal said in the order. It is common for employers to ask applicants to check a box on forms if they have a record, leading to ‘Ban the Box’ campaigns by civil rights groups who say it handicaps job-seekers who are trying to change their lives.

In Georgia, Ammar had shown Deal the state job forms after first asking the governor where he thought the question came up. It was fourth on the list.

‘I saw a light go off,’ Ammar told Equal Times. ‘Who’s going to hire someone if the first thing you see is that they’ve been convicted of a crime?'”

Read the full article here.