SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Hundreds of activists, community leaders, and elected officials marched through the streets of downtown Sacramento Tuesday morning with a clear objective: They want low-level convictions and arrests automatically removed from a person's record once they've completed their sentence.
Their movement is called #TimeDone. Jay Jordan, executive director of #TimeDone, spearheaded the rally. He said he hopes it will evoke change, allowing thousands of Californians to have a pathway to education, jobs and housing.
"Fresh out of high school, I got convicted. I spent eight years in the California state prison," Jordan explained. "I got out, and I thought I was going to take over the world. I was going to be a barber, sell insurance, start my own business, and then I quickly realized that I couldn't do any of those things."
- California eyes facial recognition technology ban
- California bill limiting how police use deadly force modified. Can it still promise change?
- California has housing crisis, Legislature has no fix yet
Assembly Bill 1076, introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would require the Department of Justice to expunge arrests if there was no conviction after the state of limitations passed. It would also clear the records once an offender's jail time or probation ends.
Most of those effected by the bill are low-level offenders arrested for drug and property crimes. Anyone who is registered as a sex offender or violated probation would not be eligible.
California already has a system in place for criminal for these types of referrals, but the bill would mandate the DOJ review cases on a weekly basis, rather than wait for petitions.
"There is a great cost to our economy and society when we shut out job-seeking workers looking for a better future," Ting said in a statement. "This bill would open doors to those facing employment and housing barriers by automating the process of clearing an arrest or criminal record for eligible individuals."
Roughly 20% of Californians have past legal convictions that can restrict them from jobs, housing, and educational opportunities. Nearly 90% of employers, 80% of landlords and 60% of colleges screen for arrest records, officials said.
Those restrictions are the inspiration behind a 1,400 square foot exhibit that was the focal point of the rally. The exhibit, known as the "Wall of Consequences," lists more than 40,000 legal restrictions that people living with past convictions have to endure.
The rally also addressed AB1331, which would require the DOJ to collect arrest data from local law enforcement agencies on a weekly basis.
Regardless of what happens from here, Jordan said he's inspired by Tuesday's turnout and the amount of support his group received.
"It gives me hope. It gives me hope in humanity," he said. "It gives me hope in the American value system. And I believe we can get this done."
Follow the conversation on Facebook with Kevin John.