Giuseppe Milo

LA County, California Using Algorithms to Expunge Cannabis Convictions

LA prosecutors and nonprofit tech organization Code for America are teaming up to help guide as many as 50,000 cannabis convicts down the path to expungement.

Full story after the jump.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles County, California are working with nonprofit tech organization Code for America to erase or reduce as many as 50,000 old cannabis convictions, the Associated Press reports. The partnership will use computer algorithms to find convictions eligible for reduction or expungement under the state’s legalization law.

Officials in San Joaquin County are also working with the group to wipe out 4,000 such convictions.

“This collaboration will improve people’s lives by erasing the mistakes of their past and hopefully lead them on a path to a better future.” – LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, in a statement to the AP

San Francisco County prosecutors have previously worked with Code of America to reduce or drop 9,300 low-level cannabis convictions dating back to 1975. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon decided to use tech to locate potential cases after just 23 people hired lawyers to take advantage of the criminal reforms included in the 2016 law.

Jennifer Pahlka, executive director of Code for America, said their Clear My Record algorithm “changes the scale and speed of justice and has the potential to ignite change across the state and the nation.”

“When we do this right, we show that government can make good on its promises, especially for the hundreds of thousands who have been denied jobs, housing and other opportunities despite the passage of laws intended to provide relief,” she said in the report.

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