SACRAMENTO, CA--Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) was successful in moving Assembly Bill 1384 out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 1384 would provide the courts with discretion to expunge misdemeanor convictions where the person has not been sentenced to probation. This bill would provide an incentive for people convicted of low-level misdemeanors to stay out of the criminal system by providing them with a meaningful opportunity to reintegrate into society by finding work and housing."California spends more money on prisons than it does on higher education and that must change," Assemblymember Bradford said. "The state's large prison population and high recidivism rate puts a significant financial burden on the state. With our current budget crisis, we need to find ways to save money. Being smart on crime is one way to do that. It is just good public policy to provide prior-offenders with an opportunity to find employment, so they can be productive tax-paying citizens."Studies show that steady employment reduces recidivism. However, past convictions are a significant barrier to finding employment. An expungement assists people who have served their sentence and demonstrated significant rehabilitation to give back to their community and support their families.
An expunged conviction is not required to be included on most applications for employment and it provides evidence of rehabilitation to state licensing boards. "Nothing in this bill prevents employers in sensitive industries, such as those working with children, from seeing a job applicant's complete criminal history," Assemblymember Bradford said. "An expunged conviction must be disclosed for jobs working with children, people with disabilities and seniors, and for most public employment. This bill is a win-win, it protects public safety and provides deserving individuals with employment and housing opportunities that would be closed to them but for this bill."Assemblymember Steven C. Bradford represents the 51st Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Lawndale, and Inglewood, and the communities of Athens, Lennox, South Central LA, Westchester, Willowbrook, Playa Vista, and parts of Ladera Heights and West Compton.