Hundreds line up to have criminal records expunged - CBS46 News

Hundreds line up to have criminal records expunged

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

More than 600 people registered to have their criminal records expunged on Saturday. A process that usually takes months, happened for some metro Atlanta residents in a matter of hours.

Fulton county officials hosted a record restriction summit in northeast Atlanta at Ebenezer Baptist Church. They're calling it a second chance for those who have been in trouble with the law.

Two hours before doors opened, people were lining up for the summit, eager to have their criminal records wiped clean.

"I’ve got felonies on my record but I was never convicted of anything," said Sylvanus Jackson. "But it remains on your record and it just doesn’t look good."

Those arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony in Fulton County but never convicted were able to get their record restricted, essentially hidden from the public.

Jackson said his record has kept him from getting ahead.

"You try to get an apartment, you try to get a job... it just doesn’t flow."

CBS46 has learned that the summit cost about 30 thousand dollars. AETNA helped offset that cost, donating 5 thousand dollars.

Fulton County Chairman John Eaves believes the summit is worth the money.

"I do a lot of things in terms of being chairman of Fulton County," he said. "This is one of the things I think is the most meaningful in terms of people who really want to get back on their feet."

659 people registered for Saturday's summit, though officials say there are many more who are eligible to have their records cleared.

"A conservative estimate is 300 thousand people in this county have a record," said Doug Ammar of the Georgia Justice Project. "That’s a conservative estimate."

Of that 300 thousand, Ammar said the majority have something on their record that can be cleared.

Chairman Eaves said there are preliminary plans to make this an annual event.

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