Governor Brown Signs AB 651 (Bradford), the Reentry & Employment Opportunities Act!
The Lawyers' Committee is pleased to report that AB 651, the Reentry & Employment Opportunities Act introduced by Assemblyman Bradford, was signed into law yesterday (October 13) by Governor Jerry Brown.
As a result of the “Public Safety Realignment Act” of 2011, some individuals will now serve sentences in a local jail for lower-level felony convictions that used to have state prison as the only sentence available. Under AB 651, after these individuals serve their time in jail, they will have an opportunity to ask the court to set aside their convictions, subject to a waiting period and a showing of rehabilitation. AB 651 provides a critical step forward for people who have served their sentences, helping them to avoid the stigma associated with prison time and to better access the jobs and housing they need to leave the criminal justice system permanently behind them.
The bill was co-sponsored by the Lawyers' Committee and spearheaded by the Second Chance Program, the ACLU, the East Bay Community Law Center, and A New Way of Life Reentry Project.
A huge thank you goes out to Assemblymember Bradford for his leadership on this issue. Without this bill, thousands of people would have had no opportunity to move beyond their records, regardless of the progress or rehabilitation they achieved. This new law will help to promote meaningful access to stable jobs and housing, and stronger and safer communities for all.
We're also very appreciative of all of the individuals and organizations who supported this effort, and we look forward to continuing this work to advance fair and just reentry and criminal justice policies!
Click here for a fact sheet on AB 651.