1 in 8 Californians with a Criminal Record is Potentially Eligible for Full Record Clearance

DATA POINT: 1 in 8 Californians with a Criminal Record is Potentially Eligible for Full Record Clearance PDF

Editor’s note: CPL’s Data Point estimated the number of existing arrests and convictions potentially eligible for automatic relief, based on the Assembly Bill 1076 bill language at time of writing that would have retroactively granted relief for eligible arrests and convictions occurring on or after January 1, 1973. However, prior to becoming law, Assembly Bill 1076 was amended to only grant relief for new arrests and convictions occurring on or after January 1, 2021. This change in the legislation means that the existing arrests and convictions reported in this brief will not receive automatic relief from this law.

Assembly Bill 1076 proposes to extend automatic record clearance in California to certain eligible arrests and convictions. If passed, the California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) would, beginning in 2021, identify persons eligible for relief and grant relief without requiring the person to file a petition. The California Policy Lab (CPL) created a computer program to identify eligible arrests and convictions using CA DOJ’s Automated Criminal History System (ACHS). We found that 1 in 8 Californians with a criminal record are potentially eligible to have their full record cleared. Further, approximately 81% of persons with a criminal record are potentially eligible for relief of at least one arrest or conviction (approximately 1.8 million persons in the study cohort).