Virtual event to provide educational resources on criminal record removal | Local News

Almost 4.3 million people in Georgia have some sort of criminal record, according to the Georgia Justice Project.

This record can hamper a person’s ability to find employment, find accommodation and many other critical aspects of daily life.

A program offered by the Atlanta-based Georgia Justice Project aims to educate residents on how they can clear their records and remove some of these barriers.

GJP will host a virtual town hall event via Zoom at 4 p.m. Monday focused on restricting and clearing records. He will open his case-assistance clinic to applicants from Glynn and other counties.

At the Educational Town Hall, an attorney from the Georgia Justice Project will explain available remedies for restriction and sealing, or expungement, for a criminal record in Georgia.

After the event, people living in Glynn County, Ogeechee Circuit and Tift Court Circuit will have the option to request record support through the clinic.

“Through these virtual access to justice events, we are specifically targeting certain jurisdictions, generally those that are more rural, but certainly those where there has been a demonstrated lack of access to case assistance or legal services. ‘recording,’ said Paige Jann, a lawyer at GJP. “We have a site defined, then the first step when we approach that site or have a clinic is to do the educational town hall, and that’s what happens on Monday.”

The resources of the program are intended for people with a criminal record in Georgia.

“We are using this first presentation as an educational element to let individuals know what really exists, what our options are, what can I actually do to get a conviction or a non-conviction on my case,” Jann said. “And after this event, it is possible to seek real case assistance when a Georgia Justice Project attorney reviews their criminal history and determines what they are eligible for.”

If a person is eligible, their case will be matched with a lawyer who will provide them with a free consultation.

The upcoming program will include information and services tailored to residents of Glynn County.

“Glynn County is one of those jurisdictions that we’ve identified as necessary,” Jann said. “So on Monday, although there are a few other counties, Glynn County is one of those we specially invite to this town hall. And then the residents of Glynn County are part of this targeted place that we are accepting applications to review for eligibility. “

There are 50 application spaces available for the program. But there is no cap on the number of people who can attend the virtual town hall.

“We generally encourage people from all over the state, if they want to register for the presentation, they can just find out more about erasing records in Georgia,” Jann said.

“Attendance is required for this first presentation because not only are we talking about the erasure of records in Georgia in this town hall, but we are also talking about the clinic process,” Jann said. “We think it’s just a really good opportunity to let them know what the process will look like in the future.”

Governor Brian Kemp this year signed a probation reform bill, Senate Bill 105, which aims to reduce the number of Georgians serving long terms of probation. The change in law allows individuals to access early termination of felony probation after three years if they reach their milestones.

Glynn County Democrats worked with the GJP to host the town hall. President Julie Jordan said the group hopes to raise awareness about this issue, as it is an issue that many residents of Glynn County face.

“A lot of people don’t know this information,” she said. “They don’t know that once these new laws are in place, they can go through it and they no longer have this crime on their record.”

Jordan encouraged any local organization that helps people who will benefit from this program to go to town hall.

“When you’re on probation and you’ve been convicted of a felony, it affects your housing, it affects your ability to find a job. If you can get your record written off, it would change your life, ”she said.

Josiah Watts, Georgia Heirs Property Law Center Fellow, GJP Partner, helped organize the event because he saw how important it can be to residents of Georgia.

“Let’s say someone is in their 50s and they’ve had something on their record since they were 16 or 17 years old. It might even just be a misdemeanor, but it can present barriers to housing, it can present barriers to employment, it can present barriers to anything and everything you can think of, ”Watts said. “And that’s something that could probably be restricted or removed.”

Many are unaware that restriction or delisting is an option, he said.

“It’s really about breaking down barriers for people who are trying to improve their lives,” he said.

The Georgia Justice Project has done record-breaking work for clients for many years, Jann said, and has seen first-hand how a criminal record can seem to have an endless impact on someone’s life.

“Our organization itself, we believe a lot in second chances,” Jann said. “And we believe that erasing records is a way to make it a reality for individuals, enabling them to reach their full potential. And then communities like the ones we hope to serve through these events are stronger as a result. “

Although applications are limited to 50 people, anyone who applies in the 50’s will receive some form of support, even if they are not eligible for the program.

“Even those who may not have anything eligible, they have the option of having their case reviewed by a lawyer, and GJP personally calls these people and explains to them what is in their case, why they are not. are not eligible… Our hope and the goal is that every person leaves this town hall in a little better position, ”said Jann.

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