We have some great news to share today!

In an important shift, Contra Costa County eliminated the $150 fee the county charged people to seal their juvenile records. Many counties across the state still have such a fee.

In Contra Costa, now that the fee has been removed, every person, regardless of their income, can afford to file to seal their juvenile record, opening opportunities for them to move forward in their lives, like securing a stable job, getting permanent housing, acquiring a professional license, and obtaining loans.

As Stephanie Medley of Youth Justice Director at RYSE Youth Center in Richmond (RYSE), said, “Eliminating the fee creates accessibility and opportunity to a fresh start for young people.” Together with national organizing initiative All of Us or None, RYSE has advocated directly with the Contra Costa County Probation Department regarding elimination of the record-sealing fee since November 2013.

The county’s fee removal is aligned with AB-1756, Assembly member Nancy Skinner’s “Starting Over Strong” bill. On March 25, 2014, the California Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety voted to pass the bill. It has now gone to the Standing Committee on Appropriations for further consideration. To be enacted, the bill must go through several readings and then pass a vote in the Assembly, and several more readings in the Senate as well as a vote. The Assembly would then again vote on any additional changes. Finally, both houses will vote on the amended bill and if successful, it will be sent to Governor Brown for his approval. If enacted, the bill will further increase access to the juvenile record sealing process for youth by eliminating the fee statewideso that no Californian citizen will be unable to seal their record and restart their lives because of their economic status. To learn more about the statewide bill, click here to read a previous R&R blog post about it and click here to see the bill’s progress.

What great news to end the week with!

–The R&R Team