UCSB Pre-law Society members Gabriella Herrera, Alyssa Rodriguez, and Marisa Hartwick. | Credit: Courtesy California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.

A group of local organizations — People’s Justice Project, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc., UCSB’s Pre-Law Society, and Isla Vista Community Services District — will host a free legal Clean Slate Clinic at the Isla Vista Community Center to assist residents with criminal record expungement, felony reduction, and arrest record sealing.

The first session will be held Wednesday, September 14, at 6 p.m., and will focus on providing information on eligibility and sign-up requirements. The second session will be held on October 5.

“The purpose of the Clean Slate Clinic is to help eliminate a barrier to employment and housing for individuals who have criminal records,” said Joseph Doherty, attorney and president of Santa Barbara–based People’s Justice Project. “A criminal record — no matter how old or how minor — can be an unjust barrier to reentry for people when most employers, property managers, and universities use background checks to screen applicants.”

During the first session, legal advisors will help residents find out if they are eligible for record clearing and assist them with all proper documentation. Individuals who qualify are those who are no longer serving a sentence for any offense not eligible for expungement, are no longer on probation for any offense not eligible for expungement, and are not currently charged with any offense or involved in a pending criminal case. Certain sex crimes involving children and certain serious or violent felonies are not eligible for expungement.

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The California Policy Lab estimates nearly one out of every eight Californians with a criminal record is eligible to obtain a full criminal record expungement, and 81 percent of Californians with a criminal record are estimated to be eligible to have at least one prior arrest or conviction expunged.  

Individuals interested should bring a copy of their criminal records from Santa Barbara County or the California Department of Justice, but volunteers will also be able to look up information for residents.

If you are interested in clearing your criminal record, please contact People’s Justice Project at (805) 242-6692 or California Rural Legal Assistance at (805) 902-2572 or reentry@crla.org.

Alternatively, visit one of the tabling events held every Monday and Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. in front of the Starbucks on Embarcadero del Norte.

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