SB 1106 ensures expungement petitions can’t be denied simply due to outstanding restitution debt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed SB 1106, the Fresh Start Act, that will help people clear past criminal records by ensuring outstanding restitution and restitution fines are not a barrier to expungement. 

Prior to the Fresh Start Act becoming law, Californians with arrest and conviction records were frequently denied record sealing and expungement because they could not afford to pay outstanding restitution and restitution fines – leaving too many people trapped by fines and fees and unable to get a job to actually pay off those fines and fees. This perverse cycle exacerbates poverty and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities, who are disproportionately impacted by the justice system. Because successful reentry into society for formerly incarcerated people benefits the broader community, SB 1106 ensures that expungement petitions aren’t denied simply due to outstanding restitution debt.

The following can be attributed to Tinisch Hollins, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice: 

“Old records that no longer reflect the reality of who someone is and what they have accomplished should not be a barrier to opportunity – this only hampers our ability to progress towards a better, safer future. With the Fresh Start Act, California is enacting a policy that prioritizes our collective health and safety by enabling every Californian to contribute to our state and its economy, not perpetuating the leftover harm from failed criminal justice system policies of the past that voters have repeatedly rejected. Policies that pave the way for a productive and complete return to civic life are an investment in public safety.”