Jobs Not Jails: Opportunity to Seal Juvenile Records Signed by Governor Brown

October 11, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 312, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), that provides 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 is an obstacle if you have a record” stated Senator Skinner. “SB 312 establishes a fair system for past youthful offenders to clear their criminal records.”

SB 312 modifies regulations that were enacted with the passage of Prop 21 in 2000 that banned the sealing of records for specified 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.

“Prop 21’s ban on record sealing is a major hurdle eliminating pathways to success most of us take for granted,” stated Senator Skinner. “By eliminating the obstacle of having a juvenile record, SB 312 provides the opportunity for a second chance.”

Senate Bill 312 will go into effect on January 1, 2018.