YOLO COUNTY NEWS

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Offenders can clean up criminal records at local workshop

By From page A3 | March 07, 2014

The Yolo County Public Defender’s Record Mitigation and Community Reintegration Clinic will host a half-day event to help rehabilitated offenders clean up their criminal records and to provide information about available community and government resources.

The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 14, in the atrium of the County Administration Building, 625 Court St. in Woodland.

Individuals with criminal convictions face significant roadblocks to full reintegration into society, such as restricted opportunities for employment and denial of access to social services like public housing and benefits, a news release said. However, under California law, rehabilitated offenders can petition the court for various forms of relief, including dismissals of former convictions (also known as “expungements”) and reduction of certain felony convictions to misdemeanors.

On March 14, public defender attorneys and students from the UC Davis School of Law will answer questions about individuals’ eligibility for dismissals and reductions of convictions, and will begin applying for these remedies where possible. The clinic’s social worker will be on hand to provide information about employment and other services available in the community.

“This collaborative effort aims to reduce the damaging collateral effects of convictions and to empower individuals to overcome the challenges of re-entry,” said Yolo County Public Defender Tracie Olson.

The event is open to all, but record mitigation services are available only to those who seek to clear up Yolo County convictions. It will be helpful, but not necessary, for attendees to bring a current rap sheet and all court documents related to their convictions and to RSVP to 530-666-8165.

“We’re hoping to get the word out that second chances exist and that rehabilitation is recognized and valued in Yolo County,” said Don Saylor, who chairs the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. “This event is a symbol of our commitment to helping as many people get back on their feet as possible.”

Enterprise staff

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