Thanks to the tireless efforts of BOSS staff and participants, Californians for Safety and Justice, dedicated legislators, and so many other organizations and community members who are fighting for criminal justice reform, we are pleased to report that yesterday Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1076 and AB 1331 into law, granting automatic records relief to people who have served their time and completed all required programs and laying the groundwork for improved criminal justice record keeping.
“Existing law authorizes a person who was arrested and has successfully completed a prefiling diversion program, a person who has successfully completed a specified drug diversion program, a person who has successfully completed a specified deferred entry of judgment program, and a person who has suffered an arrest that did not result in a conviction, under certain conditions, to petition the court to seal the person’s arrest record. Under existing law, if a defendant successfully completes certain diversion programs, the arrest for the crime for which the defendant was diverted is deemed to have never occurred….This bill would, commencing January 1, 2021…require the Department of Justice…to review the records in the statewide criminal justice databases and to identify persons who are eligible for relief by having their arrest records, or their criminal conviction records, withheld from disclosure, as specified. The bill would require the department to grant relief to an eligible person, without requiring a petition or motion.”
Right now, the burden is on formerly incarcerated individuals to complete a complicated and protracted process for expunging their records, even though they have paid their debt, done their time, completed required programs and requirements, and are ready to rebuild their lives. This bill will provide urgently needed relief so people can more quickly move forward!!
AB 1331 is a critical first step in reforming our fundamentally broken criminal justice system that often lacks accurate criminal records data. 1331 ensures this data is accurate and reliable, helping provide fair outcomes for all. It lays the groundwork for the process of automating records.
Huge thanks to Director of Reentry Services Tim Smith for his role in coordinating BOSS’s efforts with that of partners around the Bay Area and statewide. For more information on BOSS reentry services or policy work, contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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