Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Georgia

I. Georgia Department of Labor

Contact:
Georgia Department of Labor
148 Andrew Young International Boulevard
Suite 650
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-656-3011
E-Mail: commissioner@dol.state.ga.us
Web Site: www.dol.state.ga.us

Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.

A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.

Contact:
Georgia Department of Labor
148 Andrew Young International Boulevard, NE
Suite 276
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-232-3540
404-232-3538 fax

B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Contact:
Georgia Department of Labor
148 Andrew Young International Boulevard, NE
Room 422
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-656-3157
404-651-9333 fax
Web Site: www.dol.state.ga.us

C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.

One may apply for unemployment benefits by visiting a local One-Stop Career Center, over the telephone, or via the internet. Local centers are listed on the following web site: www.dol.state.ga.us/find_career_centers.htm.

Contact:
Georgia Department of Labor
Unemployment Division
148 Andrew Young International Boulevard
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-656-3157
Web Site: www.dol.state.ga.us

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II. Criminal Record Repository

This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.

Contact:
Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Crime Information Center
3121 Pantherfield Road
P.O. Box 370748
Decatur, GA 30037
404-244-2601

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III. State Attorney General

Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.

Contact:
Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
404-656-3300
Web Site: ganet.org/ago/

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IV. State Department of Corrections

Prison Industry Program

Georgia Correctional Industries (GCI) provides on-the-job training certificate programs in welding and upholstery. In addition, participants can earn a certificate from an affiliated technical institute in the areas of graphic design, optical lab technology and other in-demand occupations. GCI has as part of its mission a commitment to ensure that meaningful job skills are part of any of its projects. Inmates do not receive pay for their labor in Georgia's corrections system.

Contact:
Georgia Correctional Industries
2984 Clifton Springs Road
Decatur, GA 30034
404-244-5100
404-244-5141 fax
Web Site: www.dcor.state.ga.us

Work Release Program

Georgia has a work release program, called transition centers, available to all inmates, regardless of the type of conviction. There are approximately 900 beds available at any one time. Both female and male inmates are eligible. To be accepted in the transition program an inmate must be: within six to nine months of parole release; approved by DOC - i.e. have a good disciplinary record, completed programming required; and recommended for acceptance into the program. Inmates are released on a daily basis for full-time work. DOC assists the inmate in finding employment when possible. Work release is considered to be very important for those inmates who have served long sentences because of the support they receive at the transition center.

Contact:
Georgia Department of Corrections
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Twin Towers East, Room 756
Atlanta, GA 30334
404-656-4593
Web Site: www.dcor.state.ga.us

Pre-Release Program

Georgia has no pre-release program at the present time.

Contact:

Post-Release Transitional Program

The program division of the Department of Corrections (DOC) has recently developed a What Works program that has four components: substance abuse counseling, education/vocational training, employment and critical thinking. Through formal collaboration between the Department of Labor and the Board of Pardons and Parole, inmates obtain birth certificates and social security replacement cards prior to release.

Contact:
Georgia Department of Corrections
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE
Twin Towers East, Room 756
Atlanta, GA 30334
404-656-4593
Web Site: www.dcor.state.ga.us

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V. Georgia Division of Parole

Parole officers in Georgia work under the supervision and guidance of the Parole Board. Parole officers are trained in counseling and substance abuse treatment. G.E.D. classes, substance abuse and mental hygiene services are available to parolees at parole offices. The Board prepares job-readiness packages while an offender is still incarcerated. These packages include a picture ID, social security card, resumes, diplomas and other job-related documents. The Division of Parole has also developed a cognitive skills training program called Reasoning and Rehabilitation, a 70-hour, 17-week course that teaches anger management, negotiation and dealing with authority.

Contact:
Georgia Division of Parole
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
470 East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
404-656-0692
404-651-7075 fax
Web Site: www.pap.state.ga.us

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VI. Legal Assistance

Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.

A. State Public Defender

Contact:
Georgia Indigent Defense Counsel
225 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-739-5151
404-739-5155 fax

B. Legal Services

LegalAid-GA is a joint project of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Georgia Legal Services and the Pro Bono Project of the State Bar of Georgia. Its mission is to provide the public with easy internet access to basic legal information and legal resources within Georgia.

Contact:
LegalAid-GA
Web Site: legalaid-ga.org

Athens Justice Project is a law firm that represents clients with pending criminal charges who are committed to making life changes. Project staff maintains contact with their clients throughout incarceration and upon release. Athens Justice Project provides referrals for services needed by clients to continue successful re-entry into the community. Services may include food distribution, substance/alcohol abuse treatment, resume writing, job coaching and job referrals. The project works with potential employers to educate and inform them of programs available to them such as bonding and WOTC. Athens Justice Project has also assisted clients in obtaining transportation to and from employment, and in obtaining affordable housing.

Contact:
Athens Justice Project
P.O. Box 447
Athens, GA 30603
706-613-2026
Fax: 706-613-9746 Web Site: www.athensjusticeproject.org/whatwedo.html
E-mail: info@athensjusticeproject.org

C. State Bar Association

Contact:
State Bar of Georgia
104 Marietta Street, NW
Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-527-8700
404-527-8717 fax
Web Site: www.gabar.org/

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VII. Local Service Providers

Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

Bar Association Support to Improve Correctional Services

The Bar Association support to Improve Correctional Services (BASICS) program has been funded by the State Bar of Georgia for 26 years. The program, offered in 26 transitional and diversion centers, is a 10-week course that teaches motivation, business education, and personal development to people nearing release. It also offers employability counseling to released individuals who participated in the program during their incarceration. Follow-up is not done on a routine basis, but many of the program's graduates keep in touch with BASICS instructors on an informal basis.

Contact:
Bar Association Support to Improve Correctional Services
3687 Dover Boulevard, SW
Atlanta, GA 30331
404-691-9993
404-691-4133 fax
Web Site: www.gabar.org

Goodwill of North Georgia

Goodwill of North Georgia, a 501(c)(3) corporation, provides job training and employment services to people who are having trouble finding work, want to change careers, or start their own business. With the agency’s support, Goodwill participants overcome employment hurdles caused by physical, emotional and developmental disabilities, limited job skills, poverty and other challenges.

 

Contact:
Goodwill of North Georgia
235 Peachtree Street
North Tower, Suite 2300
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-728-8600
Email: careerservices@ging.org
Web Site: www.ging.org

Goodwill Industries

Goodwill industries offers a program for people with disabilities who have barriers to employment, including those with criminal records. Goodwill offers vocational evaluation and a psychometric assessment, as well as vocational training. It also offers workshops in social adjustment, including independent living and utilizing community resources. The complete evaluation takes two to three weeks and costs $720, which must be paid by the participant. Goodwill suggests that interested people try to find a sponsor to pay the cost of the evaluation.

Contact:
Goodwill Industries
P.O. Box 15007
Savannah, GA 31416
912-354-6611

Georgia CURE

CURE is an advocacy organization. Offenders usually write to CURE when they are ready to be released and ask for referrals in a specific geographic area that can assist people with criminal records.

Contact:
Georgia CURE
P.O. Box 23074
Savannah, GA 314403
912-231-1612

The Offender Probationer Parolee State Training Employment Program

The Offender Probationer Parolee State Training Employment Program (TOPSTEP) is a collaborative effort between the Georgia Departments of Labor and Corrections and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. All agencies work together to help people with criminal records find employment in Georgia. The Department of Corrections provides academic and vocational instruction, on-the-job training, counseling and substance abuse treatment. Sixty days before an inmate is scheduled to be released, he or she attends a parole readiness (pre-release) program. All inmates attend this transitional program except for those inmates who are "maxing" out (i.e., they are released from prison with no supervision and/or follow-up). Those who will be released to parole supervision or probation, regardless of the crime of conviction or time served, are enrolled in the transitional program. All three agencies are involved in this program, but each agency administers its own portion of the program. These are TOPPSTEP representatives located at all 53 Department of Labor Career Centers across Georgia. People with criminal records who have been through a pre-release program during incarceration are given assistance in the form of job fairs and other services. Pre-screening and assessment is done at the pre-release level. The Board of Pardons and Paroles ensures that people with criminal records receive community-based services, treatment and supervision. Department of Labor representatives remove some of the obstacles people with criminal records face when they enter career center offices. Participants are automatically seen, without having to stand in long lines, by a representative who is familiar with their criminal history. Any person with a criminal record is eligible to utilize the services offered by the Department of Labor, however only those who were enrolled in the program during incarceration can utilize TOPPSTEP services.

Contact:
Georgia Department of Labor
148 Andrew Young International Boulevard, NE
Suite 426
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-232-3540
404-232-3538 fax

Friends of Prison Families

The Friends of Prison Families program works in three areas. They help families maintain contact with family members who are incarcerated by arranging monthly visits, phone calls, etc. The second area is an educational program. Inmates are enrolled in a program where workshops, e.g. drug abuse, psychological problems, social aspects of returning to family/society, are given. If completed, a letter of commendation goes into the inmate's parole file for consideration by the Board of Parole. The third area is a pre-release planning program. Family members are enlisted to help to develop job and housing packages for release planning. Friends of Prison Families works with recently released people with criminal records for three months, identifies employers who will hire people with criminal records and works with the Department of Labor to use the Federal Bonding Program and other incentives.

Contact:
Friends of Prison Families
1020 DeKalb Avenue, NE
Suite 18
Atlanta, GA 30306
404-523-7110

One-Stop Career Network

One-Stop Career Centers are administered by the Georgia Department of Labor. At each center many services are available including resume assistance, employment counseling, job search techniques workshops, financial management workshops, and access to computers/internet capacity, faxes, and printers. Referrals may be made for educational and training programs if certain criteria are met. Local centers are listed on the web site.

Contact:
Georgia Department of Labor
148 Andrew Young International Boulevard
Suite 650
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-656-3011
Web Site: www.dol.state.ga.us/

Georgia Justice Project

The Georgia Justice Project (GJP) combines legal and social services. Staff attorneys and social workers develop long-term relationships with clients who must make a commitment to rehabilitation before being accepted as clients. GJP remains committed to clients during incarceration via visits and advocacy work for release on parole supervision. Individuals with criminal records receive assistance transitioning from prison to society and may be employed in the landscaping business owned and operated by GJP. Drug testing is a component of the GJP program and, if necessary, clients are assisted in obtaining drug treatment.

Contact:
Georgia Justice Project
438 Edgewood Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30312
404-827-0027
404-827-0026 fax
Web Site: www.gjp.org

National Association of Previous Prisoners, Inc.

The National Association of Previous Prisoners, Inc. (N.A.P.P.) functions as a clearinghouse of information and support group provider for individuals with criminal histories. N.A.P.P. collaborates with community and faith-based organizations to make referrals and obtain services for individuals with criminal histories to assist in the transition from incarceration to living in society.

Contact:
National Association of Previous Prisoners, Inc.
P.O. Box 82
Stone Mountain, GA 30086

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