Press Release

Saturday 5/19: Free Live Scan Event at Akoma Unity Center to Help People Get A Copy of Their Criminal Record

Getting a Copy of One’s Criminal Record Is the First Step Toward Reducing or Dismissing Prior Convictions

Thousand Across California Are Still Eligible to Have Their Prior Marijuana Convictions Dismissed or Reduced

Contact:
Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Tommy McDonald 510-338-8827

In an effort to help people reduce or clear their prior marijuana convictions, the Drug Policy Alliance is hosting a free live scan event in San Bernardino so that residents can obtain free copies of their criminal records. This event is sponsored in partnership with the Office of Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes, All of Us or None, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, and Starting Over Inc. Obtaining a copy of one’s criminal record is critical to begin the record change process.

The live scan event will be on Saturday, May 19th, at Akoma Unity Center in San Bernardino. A full legal clinic will be held in San Bernardino on June 23 to help attendees clear their records.

California’s marijuana legalization law allows people to retroactively reduce or clear marijuana convictions for activity that is now legal or less severely punished since Proposition 64 passed in 2016. To ensure that people are given the opportunity to clear or reduce these and other convictions, it is crucial that they be given a chance to obtain a copy of their record.

What:             Free Live Scan Event to Obtain Copy of Criminal Record
When:            Saturday, May 19th, 2018, 10:30am – 2:30pm PDT
Where:           Akoma Unity Center
                           1367 North California Street
                           San Bernardino, California 92411

“Accessing a copy of one’s criminal record is a small but often difficult step to complete before a person can clear or reduce past convictions,” said Rodney Holcombe, a staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance. “The process can be confusing to navigate, and the associated costs are quite high. That’s why it’s imperative that we host live scan events ahead of our legal clinics so that this burden is lifted from the shoulders of persons who want to change their records and lives.”

In the state of California, there are 4,800 barriers to housing, employment, and citizenship that exist for someone with a criminal record. Reducing or expunging prior convictions, including prior marijuana convictions, removes thousands of barriers that allow people to fully reenter their community and society. It’s not easy to reduce or dismiss prior convictions without first obtaining one’s record, so these events are critical to effectively implement the record change provisions of Prop. 64.

The retroactive penalty reduction provisions of Prop. 64 were a priority for the Drug Policy Alliance when the initiative was drafted. DPA and its partners have hosted dozens of live scan events and expungement fairs to help hundreds of people get copies of their records and to have their records changed. These fairs have generated extensive media coverage across the state of California – and even nationally in the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post – and have helped this issue gain momentum on a systemic level. Earlier this year, San Francisco’s district attorney announced that the city will clear or reduce thousands of marijuana convictions dating back decades. Seattle then made a similar announcement the following week. Several weeks later, the Sonoma County district attorney’s office said it will begin clearing or reducing nearly 3,000 marijuana-related convictions.

People looking for more information on how to get their records reduced or expunged can find out more at the Drug Policy Alliance’s website.

About the Drug War
Drug Law Convictions and Punishments
Marijuana Legalization and Regulation
Mass Criminalization
Reducing the Harms of Marijuana Prohibition
California