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Cobb County to restrict arrest records

Government officials in Cobb County are working to restrict arrest records, allowing people easier access to jobs and healthcare.

EAST COBB, Ga. — Cobb County officials are hosting a record restriction event, one month from today on February 29 - a day that only comes around every four years.

“Yes it's a leap year, so there is actually a February 29,” Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes said. “We're going to be helping people leap into their new future by restricting parts of the record that shouldn't be there, maybe because they were arrested, nothing was ever done in terms of prosecution, or they successfully completed a conditional discharge, first offender, or diversion program. So, we can restrict that and then seal the records so that there are no pop-ups from the courts' clerks offices.”

This will be Cobb County’s first time hosting the free event which is part of a larger effort called Project Restore 360.

“We knew that there was a dynamic that was missing in Cobb, something that we had not touched upon,” Holmes said. “So Project Restore 360 works to make sure that we can bring a bunch of different facets together to make this community whole. The first part is the record restriction.”

She said the record restriction portion of the event filled up fast, and another event has already been planned for this summer.

“There was 250 originally,” Holmes said. “We did extend that so that some other people who we really thought should be a part of the project, based on the application that was submitted, could be a part. But we have gone past capacity even before our deadline which is this Friday, January 31st. It’s good because we know that we are serving people in our community.”

The February 29 event, which will take place at the Riverside EpiCenter in Austell, will also include a job fair and resource expo that’s open to the public.

“We want to make sure that people know that once they have their records restricted, or even for those who may not have been eligible for that piece, that there are employers out there who are looking for great team members and understand that not everybody is unblemished and have things that may have prevented them from getting employment, housing, substance abuse and mental health treatment, just things to help them be a better part of the community,” Holmes said.

“It's really a partnership between the county government and what I call the judicial side of the government,” Cobb County Commission Chairman Mike Boyce said. “It's what I call a comprehensive approach. Obviously, it's one thing to get a job, but it's something else to have the support system behind you. And our motto in Cobb County is ‘expect the best,’ and I think you see that in the teamwork between our office and the district attorney's office, as well as Solicitor General Barry Morgan, not to mention the other superior court judges and some of the programs they have called Accountability Courts. So we're taking a whole new different approach to how we want to get people back into the mainstream with a job, with a place to live, where they can support themselves and their families.”

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