Sacramento, CA – The California State Assembly opened the doors to employment, housing and educational opportunities for millions of Californians today by approving AB 1076, a clean slate effort by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). The proposal uses technology to automate arrest and conviction relief for those already entitled to record clearance under existing law. The current system is too burdensome and expensive for most people to navigate, resulting in barriers to re-entering society.
“There’s a great cost to our economy and society when we shut out job-seeking workers looking for a better future,” said Ting. “Everybody deserves a second chance. We must use available technology to help people who have already paid their debt to society get back on their feet.”
Studies show that lack of access to jobs and housing are primary factors that drive individuals to reoffend. The obstacles to successful re-entry also disproportionately impact communities of color and those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. By requiring no additional action by petitioners, AB 1076 can make the system more fair and equitable, while also improving public safety through reduced recidivism.
“Millions of Californians are living in a paper prison,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, who worked with Ting on this first-in-the-nation legislation. “AB 1076 will not only modernize our system of justice, it’s a model for the justice system.”
“People should not face lifelong barriers to earning a living, providing for their families, and contributing to their communities and the economy. Permanently forcing people to the margins of society - even after they’ve completed their sentence and paid their debts - is counterproductive to the health and safety of our communities. We need to build pathways for people to earn redemption, and just as we automate giving people criminal records, it’s time for California to automatically provide relief as well,” said Jay Jordan, Executive Director, Californians for Safety and Justice.
AB 1076 will also reduce unnecessary taxpayer costs. Under the current petition-based record clearance model, each record costs the system $3,757. An automated system costs 4-cents per record.
Ting’s proposal now heads to the Senate for consideration. All bills must reach the Governor’s desk by September 13.
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