Friday, December 18, 2009

Inside Look into our work - A post from Brandon Hollis Hall, Prison Support Coordinator

My name is Brandon Hollis Hall and I am the Prison Support Coordinator for the Georgia Justice Project. I come to Atlanta and the project through my year-long commitment to live in solidarity with the poor through the non-profit organization Mission Year. Every year, GJP selects a year long volunteer to fill the position of Prison Support Coordinator, so I feel very privileged to fill this role for 2009-2010. I am originally from rural Kentucky, so Atlanta has taken me quite some time to get used to. While here at the project I have met some of the most amazing and intelligent people, and I have met them in the prisons all throughout Georgia.

Each week I travel to different prisons throughout the state, to visit with and correspond with the GJP clients’ unfortunate enough to receive prison sentences. These men open up to me almost immediately as GJP is for some the only outside contact they receive. I have found my faith strengthened, and my heart filled by the stories that these men tell. Some share with me about remorse for the past. Some share stories of gratitude for the visits they receive from the folks at GJP. In every case though, they teach me that for every alleged crime, there is a face, and a story. In America often we strip humanity from those who commit crimes, and write them off, no matter the circumstances or the manner in which the crimes were committed. I have seen with my own eyes, and heard with my own ears, stories of released men not able to find jobs because of a blemish upon their record. Without ANGELS like the folks at GJP, these men would have no hope for job opportunities, or resources with which to find them.

GJP stands by their clients win or lose. The goal is breaking the cycle of poverty, not just simply representing people in court. If our clients win, we celebrate, we help them with employment through our in-house landscaping business NHL, among other things. We offer them much needed support and guidance through our in-house social service department. If our clients do end up serving time in prison, we go to the prisons to visit them. We send Christmas packages, we write, we let them know that there is somebody in the world that refuses to simply write them off. Upon release, all of our different teams within the building band together to best assist a healthy re-entry into society for the newly released. GJP has shown me that the words, JUSTICE, FAITH, and PRESERVENCE are obtainable. They have given a face to stories, and for that I am thankful. Feel free to email me at, for specific stories, or information.

Thanks. Brandon

Brandon Hollis Hall

Georgia Justice Project

Prison Support Coordinator

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Should it be this hard to get a second chance in Georgia?

Georgia law and policy pose some of the toughest barriers in the nation to people trying to get their lives back on track long after they've satisfied criminal charges or convictions.At stake: opportunities for housing, employment, public assistance and civic participation. With access to these cut off, the odds of recidivism, poverty, family instability and homelessness are high. And taxpayers foot the bill for these avoidable social and economic strains.These are among the findings of a new Mercer Law School publication, made possible by a grant from the Georgia Bar Association and the gift of time and talent by the authors:

Collateral Consequences of Arrests and Convictions: Policy and Law in Georgia . More than one in every 13 adults in Georgia is affected - well over the entire population of our state's largest city, Atlanta.

To learn more, as well as to explore potential strategies Georgia lawmakers could pursue to break down these barriers, join us for a "town hall" dialogue featuring a distinguished panel:

H. Lane Dennard Jr. Co-author and retired litigation partner at King & Spalding
Patrick C. DiCarlo Co-author and partner at Alston & Bird
Douglas Ammar Executive director of the Georgia Justice Project
Marissa McCall, Dodson Staff attorney and principal of the GJP's Coming Home Program
Milton J. Little Jr. President, United Way Metropolitan Atlanta, will moderate and facilitate participant discussion.

Tuesday December 15

4 PM - 6 PM; reception follows
Loudermilk Conference Center
40 Courtland Street, Atlanta, 30303
Discounted parking available
Copies of the book will be available upon donation to benefit the Georgia Justice Project.

There is no charge to attend and the event is open to lawmakers, state, federal and local government officials, judges,attorneys, employers, low income housing providers, clergy, people working with ex-offenders, the homeless or vulnerable families and others who care, including the media.


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