Bills focus on lowering prison recidivism
May 21, 2012
Prompted by stories of former prisoners unable to get jobs and assimilate into society because of the stigma of a felony conviction, California lawmakers are considering three bills that would make it easier for ex-convicts to get jobs. [MyDesert]
One of the bills, currently in the Assembly, would make it easier for former prisoners to get their criminal records expunged. AB2263 would allow judges to expunge the criminal records of felons who are sentenced to county jail once the offenders complete their probation.
Another bill in the assembly, AB1831, would make California the latest state to remove the felony conviction question box from public-sector job applications. If it becomes law, local governments could request criminal history information immediately on applications for law enforcement jobs or those that require working with children, the elderly or disabled.
In the Senate, lawmakers will consider a bill that would make possessing drugs for personal use a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
State Sen. Mark Leno said California should follow the lead of 13 other states that promote rehabilitation over incarceration and classify possession for personal use as a misdemeanor. Leno those states have noted an increase in drug treatment and a decrease in drug use.
Primarily, addicts avoid felony convictions that make it more difficult to get housing, an education and employment.