Resolution to Streamline and Support Record Expungement Information and Processes

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WHEREAS individuals with criminal records are stripped of the basic rights of citizens, including but not limited to: voting, jury duty, running for public office, and potentially freedom of movement, and criminal records further prevent employment in a number of industries due to background checks that prevent employment and economic mobility, compounded by a rising cost-of-living; and

WHEREAS a 2013 study from Stanford University found that approximately 24% of expungement seekers bore exclusively criminal records that were eligible for mandatory expungement; and just 13% of detainees in a Santa Clara County jail were aware of record expungement; criminal record expungement laws have precedent; and expungement offers a chance for former convicts to clear their criminal records after completion of their probation or a period of one year; and

WHEREAS integrating those eligible for expungement into the labor force would provide enormous productive and economic growth for Santa Clara County, but such individuals today often do not seek or obtain expungement due to the high costs of legal aid, lack of access to information, and the complexity of the process and paperwork;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Santa Clara County Democratic Party will offer clear, explicit instructions to the public with regards to the forms and process needed to expunge one’s record on numerous platforms including websites, flyers, pamphlets, etc.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Santa Clara County Democratic Party will work with County courts to revise and streamline the delivery of information regarding criminal record expungement at sentencing and create notification systems to alert former convicts at various checkpoints, including but not limited to: the end of probation, one year following release from custody, and periodically following release from custody, and will urge the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to fully fund the efforts of the Public Defender’s Office to handle discretionary record expungement cases.

Submitted by: Adhitya Venkatraman, Youth Delegate