DeKalb County Hosts Record Restriction Clinic for Second Chance Month, 147 Arrests Restricted

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On Saturday, April 13, 2024, DeKalb County criminal justice partners came together to help individuals with past arrests find a fresh start. A total of 147 criminal arrest records were restricted as part of a Record Restriction Clinic held in Decatur.

The Clinic, organized in recognition of Second Chance Month, was located at Goodwill of North Georgia on Lawrenceville Highway. It coincided with the Reentry Collaborative Summit hosted by the DeKalb Department of Community Supervision Office, offering a range of reentry and legal services under one roof.

To be eligible, individuals needed to have an arrest by the DeKalb County Police Department or the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, or misdemeanor and felony convictions in the county. More than 240 applications were accepted, with each applicant allowed up to two arrests for consideration.

Applications underwent processing by various county offices including the Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Solicitor-General’s Office, and the Clerk of Superior Court ahead of the event.

At the Record Restriction Clinic, applicants were notified of their application status in person and also received updates by mail. Those unable to have their records restricted during the clinic were offered the chance to schedule a consultation with attorneys from the Law Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender or the Georgia Justice Project.

Beyond record restriction services and legal consultations, the event offered a job and resources fair, food distribution, medical screenings, SNAP applications, and voter registration.

Record restriction, previously known as expungement, provides a shield against public access to old arrest and conviction information, potentially enhancing opportunities for housing, employment, and financial credit.

Second Chance Month is an annual designation aimed at highlighting the importance of reentry services and their role in supporting successful outcomes within the criminal justice system.

The Record Restriction Clinic was made possible through partnerships with Goodwill of North Georgia, The Georgia Department of Community Supervision, and The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.