The Second Chance for Georgia Campaign, led by the Georgia Justice Project (GJP), brings together a broad base of diverse stakeholders to speak with one voice about the need to expand Georgia’s expungement law to allow expungement of certain misdemeanor and felony convictions after a period of conviction free years.
In 2018, the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommended expungement of convictions to bring Georgia more in line with laws in 40 other states. Georgia has the highest rate of correctional control in the country, yet has one of the most restrictive expungement laws.
4.2 million people (nearly 40% of adults) have a Georgia criminal record. They face barriers to employment, housing, higher education and other opportunities long after their sentence is over. Currently, only arrests that did not lead to a conviction and certain misdemeanor convictions before someone turned 21 can be expunged in Georgia. Everything else stays on forever, creating lifetime barriers under Georgia’s current law.
Changing Georgia’s law so that certain misdemeanor and felony convictions can be restricted and sealed after a period of time will unlock opportunity for thousands of Georgians who want to work, rebuild their lives, and provide better futures for their families.
Employment is the most effective way to reduce recidivism, so reducing barriers to employment will increase public safety, and will also help employers fill open positions in Georgia’s tight labor market.