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Lieutenant governor unveils plans to tackle gaps in Georgia's criminal record database

Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan plans to work with Senate members to draft legislation that will create a "reliable reporting system."

ATLANTA — Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced plans to tackle gaps in the state's criminal record database on Thursday.

Earlier this month, 11Alive's Doug Richards revealed that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation plans to hire nearly two dozen new scientists in order to work through around 29,000 backlogged criminal cases from the state crime lab.

According to a release, Duncan plans to work with Senate members to draft legislation that will create a "reliable reporting system while bringing criminal justice agencies involved in its implementation to the table for input throughout the legislative process."

The legislation being pursued is the Criminal Record Responsibility Act and it will be sponsored by Sen. Bo Hatchett (R – Cornelia), a release stated. 

“As the nation grapples with rising crime, all facets of the judicial system must be properly equipped to respond immediately and effectively,” Duncan said. “Current reporting data shows unacceptable metrics that pose a major public safety risk for communities. Working with partners across the state, our goal is to establish a framework to solve this issue while also strengthening protections for victims in Georgia.”

Gov. Brian Kemp added solving this ongoing issue is critical in order to keep communities safe from crime. 

“When communication breakdowns exist between law enforcement, crime victims, prosecutors, judges, and potential employers, then justice cannot be effectively served," Kemp said. "We commend the Lt. Governor, Sen. Hatchett, and others for working to gather input from all stakeholders to improve reporting."

Hatchell said he looks forward to working with the Lieutenant Governor's Office and additional partners to work on a legislative solution. 

“Ensuring access to updated criminal records is a crucial public safety issue not only for members of the judicial system, but for potential employers, housing companies and occupational licensing boards who require a criminal background check,” Hatchett said.

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