Aimed at removing a substantial barrier to employment and economic stability in Los Angeles County, the Department of Public Social Services is partnering with other County departments to promote a free series of monthly expungement clinics to reduce felony convictions for as many as 500,000 County residents with a record of low-level, nonviolent crimes to misdemeanors.
The collaboration is the result of Proposition 47, the ballot initiative passed by California voters on November 4, 2014. The initiative has provided an opportunity for individuals with felony convictions to submit a petition to reduce certain non-violent, non-serious drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.
With the understanding that the clinics are in great need, the Board of Supervisors issued a call for County departments to get the word out to residents who will benefit from the legal relief offered by Prop 47.
Although the deadline to apply for expungement has been extended for five years, there is still a sense of urgency for many who are seeking employment. In order to increase participation at the clinics, GAIN Program enlisted the DPSS Communications Section to develop strategies to disseminate information to communities about the monthly expungement clinics.
Attendees will have an opportunity to speak directly with attorneys and paralegals regarding their options and to begin the expungement process the same day. DPSS Outreach staff are also on site to provide information and benefit enrollment assistance.
Individuals with a felony record – no matter how old the conviction – may be eligible to have the offense reduced to a misdemeanor. Individuals who are currently incarcerated for a felony, can seek to be resentenced and released.
For more information about Prop. 47 or a calendar of the upcoming expungement clinics, please visit: http://prop47.lacounty.gov.