In the era of mass criminalization, where over 70
million Americans and almost four million Georgians
have a criminal record, the collateral consequences that
accompany criminal records have become barriers to
employment for many ex-offenders trying to reenter the
workforce. Blanket exclusionary hiring policies that
apply to all individuals with a record regardless of the
nature of the offense or time since its commission have
left a portion of the population with little to no
opportunity to act as productive, contributing members
Georgia's current statutory scheme built to alleviate
the effects of the collateral consequences of a criminal
record is largely inefficient at achieving its stated goals
of reducing recidivism and successfully reintegrating
ex-offenders back into society. In order to more
effectively combat the long-lasting repercussions of a
criminal record, this Note proposes a multi-faceted
legislative scheme to meet the stated objectives that
includes a combination of (1) a more liberal record
restriction statute, (2) allowing individuals with
restricted records not to disclose the restricted offenses
on job applications, and (3) allowing for a private right
of action against private background check companiesfor supplying incorrect criminal record information
that results in adverse decisions against the individual.
This combination of legislative action would decrease
the lifelong sentence that currently accompanies a
criminal record in Georgia and allow ex-offenders to
more easily re-enter the employment sector, build
productive lives, and become economically independent,
all of which contribute to reduced recidivism rates.
Georgia has become a model state for criminal justice
reform, and by adopting this legislative scheme, could
continue to pave the way for other states to follow.
Huggins, Bonita A.
"Give It to Me, I'm Worth It: The Need to Amend Georgia's Record Restriction Statute to Provide Ex-Offenders with a Second Chance in the Employment Sector,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 52:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol52/iss1/9