Governor Signs Ting’s Criminal Justice Reform Bill
Sacramento, CA – Clean slate legislation signed by the Governor today will give hundreds of thousands of Californians a second chance in life after they have served their time and successfully completed probation. Even after rehabilitation, a criminal record typically prevents people from getting jobs and housing, or attending school. AB 1076 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), uses technology to automate arrest and conviction relief for those already entitled to record clearance under existing law. The current paper system is burdensome and expensive, and it discourages individuals from going through the process.
“People shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes for the rest of their lives. A fresh start improves an individual’s chances of succeeding and reduces the likelihood of recidivism. Automating the record clearance process will enable former offenders to get back on their feet and lead productive lives,” said Ting. “Our economy and society pay the price when job-seeking workers are shut out.”
In its amended form, AB 1076 would automate record clearance for individuals whose arrest occurs after January 1, 2021. A new California Policy Lab analysis found that of the estimated 1.1 million people who will have a new detention, arrest, or conviction during the first five years of the law’s implementation, about 44% will be eligible to have one or more cases automatically cleared. 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 records clearance system more fair and equitable.
“On behalf of the tens of thousands of members of our Time Done campaign in California, we applaud Governor Newsom, Assemblymember Ting and the state legislature for prioritizing this smart safety solution. This new law will provide pathways to success for families across our state,” 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 processed costs the system $3,757. An automated system costs 4-cents per record.
AB 1076 will require the Department of Justice to grant automatic relief to eligible individuals beginning January 1, 2021. Ting and other advocates for criminal justice reform will continue their work to expand the process to those living with a criminal record today, as the legislation originally intended.
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