New Augusta program offers hope for past offenders

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:43 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2023 at 7:26 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta is launching a new program, Second Chance Desk, for Richmond and Burke County residents on Tuesday.

Depending on the severity of the crime, you could have your records erased or sealed due to the Second Chance Desk program.

On Tuesday, there will be a ribbon cutting for the program, starting at 3 p.m. at the Augusta Richmond County Public Library.

Starting Oct. 4, you can meet with attorneys every Wednesday at the library by appointment only.

Having a record comes with limitations. The program helps people who are having a difficult time with housing, child custody, getting employed, and more.

“There are so many people who need jobs right now. There are so many people who are trying to get their lives back on track. There are so many people who’ve made bad judgments or bad mistakes years ago. And that’s not who they are now. But yet this one thing keeps popping up and keep, you know, preventing them from doing certain things,” said Omeeka Loggins, Solicitor General in Richmond County.

For people trying to change their future, it’s possible. The Job Skills Program through the Salvation Army helps people get back on their feet, regardless of their background.

“They need to know that their past doesn’t define them. As a young person, I got in trouble when I was young. And again, I had a lot of negative factors in my life where there was like, you know, you can’t do it. But I had to have people that supported me and say, well, you know, you can,” said Juan Mobley, Life Skill Coordinator for the Salvation Army.

Mobley says programs like these are important.

“We’re making sure that people understand that, you know, again, there are people who genuinely care for you and they genuinely want to see you succeed,” he said.

They are helping create better lives, so those people can also make a difference.

Loggins said: “If we have people who are working, people who have housing, if we have people who have funding for various things, especially for school, they are less likely to be involved in the system, they are more likely to be productive citizens. And so anything that we can do to help keep them on that right path. That’s a win-win for the community.”