San Diegans Find a Fresh Start at Prop 47 Justice & Resource Fair

Civil rights, legal, community organizations and lawmakers unite to reduce barriers to reentry and stability

August 20, 2016 10:30 am

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SAN DIEGO– State Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), San Diego City Councilmember David Alvarez, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, San Diego County Public Defender’s Office, Think Dignity, Second Chance and a number of other legal and community organizations are hosting a Proposition 47 Justice and Resource fair today to support people looking for a fresh start as well as their neighbors and families. All are welcome. The goal of the fair is to provide San Diegans an opportunity to clean up their criminal record and connect to programs and services to help them reintegrate into the community.

“When we invest resources in giving people a real chance at successful reentry, we reap dividends in the health and safety of our communities,” said Norma Chavez-Peterson, Executive Director of the San Diego ACLU. “Proposition 47 means a fresh start for people who have make a mistake and paid their dues, but now have trouble accessing affordable housing and steady employment due to the stigma of having even a low-level felony conviction.”

Passed by 60% of California voters in 2014, Proposition 47 reclassified six low-level offenses as misdemeanors, including drug possession and theft under $950. Savings from reduced incarceration is being directed to prevention programs, keeping youth in school, and services for crime victims.

Under Proposition 47, people may qualify to reclassify a previous felony conviction on their record to a misdemeanor. In addition to Prop 47 reclassification, there are several other options available for people with one or more convictions to clean up their record. At today’s fair, volunteer attorneys will provide legal information on all of them.

“Too often the punishment for committing a crime lasts long after time served,” said Anne Rios, Executive Director of Think Dignity. “San Diegans working hard to turn their lives around deserve a second chance. We’re proud to have provided support for these efforts because strong communities are the foundation of safe neighborhoods.”

At the fair, volunteer attorneys are helping eligible people file Proposition 47 reclassification petitions and giving free legal information about criminal record changes. In San Diego alone, there have been almost 50,000 petitions filed under Proposition 47. The current deadline to file a Prop 47 petition is November 4, 2017. Assembly Bill 2765 (Weber), which is now under consideration in the California Senate, would extend that filing deadline to 2022.

The event was done in partnership with State Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), San Diego City Councilmember David Alvarez, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Crossroads Justice Center of San Diego, National Council of La Raza , Partners for Progress, San Diego Clean Slate Clinic, San Diego County’s Building Trades Unions, San Diego Organizing Project, San Diego County Public Defender’s Office, Second Chance, and Think Dignity.

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