Georgia has the highest rate of correctional control facilities in the nation, yet no matter how long ago the conviction occurred, Georgia’s laws do not allow expungement. Under current Georgia law, only arrests that did not lead to a conviction, and certain misdemeanor convictions that occurred before the age of 21, can be removed. All other Georgia convictions stay on your record permanently, a lifetime of difficulty for people who have finished serving their time and are trying to pick their lives back up.
The 4.2 million people who have criminal records in Georgia face barriers to employment, housing, higher education, and other opportunities long after their sentence is over. If Georgia’s laws were changed so that certain misdemeanor and felony convictions could be restricted and sealed after a period of time, it would unlock opportunity for thousands of Georgians who have been rehabilitated and want to work, to rebuild their lives, and provide better futures for their families. Expanding the ability to seal criminal records also benefits communities by increasing public safety and helping employers fill open positions in Georgia’s tight labor market.
As part of our commitment to Ending Mass Incarceration, The Diocese of Atlanta supports an effort being led by the Georgia Justice Project (GJP) and a broad base of diverse stakeholders to expand Georgia’s law and allow certain misdemeanor and felony convictions to be removed after a period of time.
Others endorsing this Second Chance for Georgia campaign include: The Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center, Georgia Center for Opportunity, United Way of Greater Atlanta, The Temple, Racial Justice Action Center, and Southern Center for Human Rights.
Learn more at: secondchancegeorgia.org
Register for the Second Chance for Georgia Campaign Kick-Off here.