California Introduces Legislation to Automate Arrest and Conviction Relief for Eligible Ex-Offenders

California Introduces Legislation to Automate Arrest and Conviction Relief for Eligible Ex-Offenders

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On March 7, 2019, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced California Assembly Bill 1076 (AB 1076) to efficiently automate the arrest and conviction relief for eligible ex-offenders, according to a press release on Assemblymember Ting’s website.

California Relief for Ex-Offenders

“Everybody deserves a second chance. There is a great cost to our economy and society when we shut out job-seeking workers looking for a better future,” Assemblymember Ting, the author of the ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘first-in-the-nation’ legislation, stated in the press release.

“The system has erected bureaucratic barriers that disproportionately impact communities of color, barriers that undermine the likelihood of successful reentry by limiting access to employment and housing,” District Attorney Gascón stated in the press release.

AB 1076 will automate arrest and conviction relief for ex-offenders eligible under current California laws, leveraging technology to comprehensively and efficiently update criminal records disseminated by the California Department of Justice for employment, housing, education, and licensing purposes.

Specifically, AB 1076 automatically clears records for arrests that did not result in conviction after the statute of limitations has passed, and automatically clears convictions on local sentences to probation and jail once the sentence is completed for ex-offenders who have remained crime free.

Current California law allows ex-offenders to clear arrests not resulting in a conviction and convictions eligible for dismissal by petitioning the court. However, less than 20 percent of eligible ex-offenders are estimated to obtain record clearance since they must retain an attorney to file the necessary petition.

Millions of California residents have criminal convictions or arrests that never resulted in a conviction on their records hampering their ability to find work. Nationally, the U.S. loses roughly $65 billion per year in terms of gross domestic product due to employment losses among people with criminal records.

Studies show that lack of access to employment is a primary factor that drives ex-offenders to reoffend.  As a result, barriers to criminal record relief reduce the likelihood of successful reentry in the workforce and perpetuate the disproportionate impact of the justice system on communities of color in particular.

The use of criminal records in employment is pervasive as nearly 90 percent of employers conducted criminal background checks on job applicants in 2018. A National Institute of Justice study found that having a criminal record reduced the chance of getting a job offer or callback by 50 percent.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers a complimentary whitepaper entitled “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce” to help job applicants with conviction records find employment and escape their own “Catch 22” situation when it comes to revealing their criminal past.

With record low unemployment, employers are more willing to hire ex-offenders with necessary skills to make sure they are not eliminating job applicants with past criminal records who are qualified to work. The increased hiring of ex-offenders is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.

ESR Offers Resources for Ex-Offenders Looking for Work

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – provides ex-offender resources to help the millions of job seekers with criminal records reenter the workforce. To learn more, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Applicant-Support-Center/Ex-Offender-Resources/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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