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The San José State University Record Clearance Project (RCP) engages undergraduates in assisting people to clear their eligible criminal convictions from their records. Students prepare clients’ petitions for court, review clients’ rap sheets at drop-in advice sessions, and give community presentations regarding expungement law and procedure. The RCP helps people move forward with their lives following a criminal conviction. One quarter of the California population has a record. A conviction history can interfere with employment, housing, foster parenting, student loans and other important opportunities. Laws exist entitling eligible people to dismiss their convictions and open doors. Low-income individuals suffer the consequences of a conviction history longer than necessary since they lack access to legal services and few free legal services are available. RCP students — always under attorney supervision — learn to provide legal information and assistance to those who cannot afford an attorney through the following means: student training and involvement, court representation, Speed Screening interviews, presentations, Path to Expungement mentoring program, LiveScan fingerprinting, and expungement law classes in Elmwood Jail. In the process, they change lives, often including their own.

By the Numbers | 2016-17

66 SJSU students engaged

2,452 residents engaged

9,850 hours of service

$237,779 value

Project Impact

  • Students of RCP prepared 139 cases for 41 clients. Of those cases, 90 have been heard and granted in court, while the remaining are pending
  • 1,851 residents were provided information regarding their legal eligibility and “next steps” in the expungement process through 41 RCP presentations
  • A total of 127 clients were advised at Speed Screenings; 40% of which had convictions that were required to be dismissed by law
  • 66 inmated signed up for the Path to Expungement-a mentoring program that helps formerly incarcerated individuals adjust back into society by providing resources such as employment referrals, gift cards, access to food banks, and help finding housing
  • RCP held 12 LiveScan events for 76 community members, 70% of which were low-income, who had fingerprinting done to obtain their rap sheets

Community Voices

“Every question I had was answered [in the students’ presentation] and I was given
exactly what I need to successfully clear my record. Thank you!”
–Speed Screening client of May 2017

“Thank you-this was the most helpful & inspiring class I’ve been through. Gave me
–Presentation participant in March 2017

“The Record Clearance Project was not only a learning experience, it was also a growing
experience where my past concepts on people with criminal records were tested and
ultimately altered.”
–RCP student