Officials offering ‘second chance’ for residents

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What started out as an opportunity to help members of Saint Philip AME Church find employment, transformed into a county wide job fair as DeKalb officials announced dates for a record restriction summit.

Record restriction, formerly known as expungement, may be available to residents who had arrests by DeKalb County Police Department or Sheriff’s Office that did not result in a conviction, according to DeKalb officials.

On Feb. 7, DeKalb officials and multiple law enforcement agencies announced the county’s first record restriction summit, formerly known as expungement, in partnership with Saint Philip AME Church.

Rev. Elliott Robinson, a DeKalb County resident for 16 years, said the event has been a year in the making.  

“One day I was stopped in the hallway and one of our members over our career resource ministry told me we had a problem. “She said ‘We can’t get people jobs,’” Robinson said.

Robinson said he proposed the idea of creating a record restriction event in DeKalb and pitched the idea to Saint Philip AME Church Senior Pastor William Watley.

“We’ve been working together and reached out to the county to figure out how we could make this all merge together,” Robinson said. “It’s overwhelming a little bit and it’s a little humbling. There was a need and as a church we’re trying to do God’s work.”

DeKalb County’s job fair and record restriction summit will take place April 21 at Saint Philip AME Church, but applications for record restrictions must be submitted in advance and are limited to 250 residents.

“This is an important initiative in our county,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said. “This will allow citizens in our county to improve and increase the chances of them accessing gainful employment.”

Individuals wanting to participate in the event must register online by March 23. Applications will not be accepted at the summit. To apply, residents can visit dekalbcountyga.gov/recordrestriction.
In total, 17 community groups and agencies partnered together for the event. They are: DeKalb County.

Saint Philip AME Church, DeKalb County government, DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, DeKalb County Solicitor-General’s Office, DeKalb County Circuit Public Defender, DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, DeKalb County Marshal’s Office, DeKalb County Superior Court, DeKalb County State Court, DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk, DeKalb County State Court Clerk, WorkSource DeKalb, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Justice Project, Georgia Department of Labor and the Georgia Department of Community Supervision.

“It’s a long list of partners and I want everybody to understand how hard we all worked to get together and make sure we covered every aspect of what’s important to have a successful record restriction day,” said DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston. “We wanted to make sure our community could come into one place, on one day and potentially have all of the issues within the criminal justice system addressed. This is not an easy feat to pull off.”

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