Jobs Not Jails: Opportunity to Seal Juvenile Records Passes State Legislature
SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, the California Legislature passed SB 312, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner, to provide a pathway for individuals convicted of a crime before their 17th birthday to petition a court to have the record related to their youthful offense sealed.
“Every aspect of life has an obstacle before you if you have a record that you cannot seal,” stated Senator Skinner. “SB 312 establishes a fair system for past youthful offenders to demonstrate that they deserve a second chance. It’s a bill we can all be proud of.”
SB 312 modifies regulations that were enacted with the passage of Prop 21 in 2000 that banned the sealing of many juvenile offense records for crimes committed by minors between the ages of 14-17. The Anti-Recidivism Coalition and the Commonweal Juvenile Justice Program estimate that there are 2,000 to 3,000 Californians now prevented from having their juvenile offense record sealed regardless of how many years they may have lived a crime free life. This obstacle is a serious hurdle to securing good employment, housing, post high school education, or even military service.
The process for record sealing set out in SB 312 requires the former offender to petition the court after a specified waiting period during which time the past offender would have to be crime free and demonstrate full rehabilitation. Additionally SB 312 allows prosecutors and law enforcement the ability to access the sealed record in the event of a future serious offense.
“Never being able to have your juvenile record sealed is a major hurdle to the very pathways to success that most of us take for granted,” stated Senator Skinner, “SB 312 eliminates that obstacle, creating opportunity for past youthful offenders.”