Can’t Get a Job, Housing Because of a Criminal Record in California? This Bill Might Help

Monday, July 29, 2019

Publication: The Press-Enterprise

Millions of Californians who ran afoul of the law could have their criminal records automatically expunged – potentially clearing hurdles to jobs and housing to help them move beyond their past – under a bill being considered in Sacramento.

AB 1076 would automatically erase the criminal records of those who successfully finished probation after serving a county jail sentence. Those arrested but never convicted of a crime also would have their records cleared without having to petition the court.

As many as 8 million Californians have criminal convictions “that hamper their ability to find work and housing, secure public benefits, or even get admitted to college” and “find themselves in ‘paper prisons’ for life due to their criminal record,” read a fact sheet on the bill from its sponsor, Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.

“Permanently blocking people from opportunities to move forward in their lives after they’ve completed their sentence and paid their debt is bad policy,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice, in a news release. “It is undermining public safety and the health of families and communities across California.”