Georgia Justice Project Receives Bank of America Grant to Support Implementation of Georgia’s Expanded Expungement Law
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation recently announced a grant awarded to Georgia Justice Project (GJP) to help remove barriers to employment, housing and other opportunities for Georgians looking to move past their criminal history and pursue a stable, productive life.
4.3 million people have a Georgia criminal history – approximately 40% of working age adults. To address this problem, GJP helped to pass an expansion to Georgia’s expungement law that went into effect January of this year. This new law expands access to record restriction and sealing (commonly known as “expungement”) to help clear obstacles to opportunity for approximately 1.5 million Georgians who now have access to record restriction for the first time. Bank of America’s grant will support expanding GJP’s direct service programs, as well as GJP’s efforts to implement a multipronged campaign that includes direct service, education & outreach, and policy expansion to increase the effectiveness of the new law.
“Georgia Justice Project has been instrumental in serving and supporting Georgians who have been affected by the criminal justice system,” said Wendy Stewart President, Bank of America Atlanta. “We are here to ensure they have the resources needed to continue serving the needs of these individuals to help them move toward achieving their goals.”
“This grant will help Georgia Justice Project ensure effective implementation of Georgia’s newly expanded criminal records law by bringing services directly to communities,” said Brenda Smeeton, Legal Director of Georgia Justice Project. “Following the new law, many rehabilitated Georgians are now eligible to seal a conviction history for the first time. However, a new law is only effective if the people can access its benefits, and this grant will help us host expungement desks and record restriction events around the state. Our sincere gratitude to Bank of America Foundation for supporting this effort.
For 35 years, GJP has served Georgians who have been impacted by the criminal legal system. The organization’s range of legal services includes holistic criminal defense paired with social services, as well as representation for criminal records issues, all provided free of charge. GJP works statewide to educate individuals and service providers on criminal records, issues, and has helped to pass 21 Georgia laws through advocacy efforts.