A few weeks ago, the state of California introduced legislation to automate expungement of arrests and low-level convictions, which currently qualify for expungement under existing law. With this new bill, California is taking active steps to removing a major barrier for people with criminal records.
Today, under the current law, those who want to get their qualifying records expunged have to go through an onerous process of understanding the laws, filling out paperwork, and petitioning the court. Not only does this require a significant amount of time and energy, but it also requires being able to navigate the complexities of the law itself—and in some cases, it can mean hiring an attorney. As a result, less than 20% of eligible individuals actually get their records expunged, which in turn, can hinder their ability to seek out and obtain housing and employment.
At Checkr, we understand the negative impact a record can have on someone’s ability to find work. Many employers may opt not to employ people with criminal records —even if those records are for low-level offenses. If this bill passes, it’ll alleviate a key challenge for individuals with records and place them on an even playing field when it comes to finding employment. On the flip side, this is great for companies as well. As a fair chance employer, we’re always encouraging our customers and prospects to adopt fairer hiring practices, but have quickly learned that fairly assessing individuals isn’t the easiest thing to do. By automatically expunging records that are deemed irrelevant, it takes the work of assessing individuals out of employers’ hands and reduces the unconscious biases that may affect the hiring process. We see the introduction of this new bill as a step in the right direction, and we’d like for more states follow in California’s footsteps. If you’re interested in learning more about the bill and its impact, you can read more here.