Georgia Enacts Offender Reentry Reforms

By Michael Klazema on 4/25/2014

Georgia passed House Bill 365 in March 2014. The bill amends various sections of the Georgia Code relating to the Fair Business Practices Act, delinquency in juvenile court, suspension of driver’s license for certain drug offenses, the Board and Department of Corrections, and general tort provisions so as to enact offender reentry reforms. The changes created by the bill become effective July 1, 2014.

Georgia Code § 42-2-5.2 is amended to create a Program and Treatment Completion Certificate that may be issued to offenders to assist with re-entry into society upon release from prison. The Board of Corrections will take into account an offender’s disciplinary record and any other factors it deems relevant to an individual’s qualification before issuing a certificate. Rules and regulations will be published that specify other eligibility considerations and requirements for completion of a certificate, such as treatment and reentry plans and vocational training.

Offenders convicted of a serious violent felony will not be eligible for a certificate. Violent felonies include murder or felony murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery.

According to § 51-1-54, employers can demonstrate due diligence when hiring ex-offenders that have earned certificates, providing them a certain level of immunity from negligent hiring and retention claims. It will be presumed that employers have used due care unless conflicting information is otherwise discovered which the employer should have noticed.

Georgia Senate Bill 365 is available for review here:

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