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Prop 47 Advocates Hold Resources Workshop to Help Reclassification of Former Felons

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SACRAMENTO —

"I am Prop 47 Sacramento" is on their second leg of their multi-neighborhood tour, educating people about the new law and what it can do for ex-cons.

The group was joined by several non-profit organizations at the Roberts Family Development Center in Rio Linda. They admit they're not perfect, and they've made their mistakes.

"My son was 7 years old when I told him I was going to the store. And when I came back, he was 16. And that's because I was living a life of crime," Jacqueline Lester said.

Her life of crime made her a felon, and along with it came the consequences, the shame and the stigma.

"All you get is 'break your back' work, 'come home dirty all the time' work. That's kind of what you get," Joe Morales said.

Morales is one of many who came into the Prop 47 event to submit their paperwork.

Fifty-year-old Timothy Poole always wanted to have children, but because of his drug arrest 18 years ago, he and his wife were denied adoption papers.

"Even though I haven't been in trouble for over 15 to 20 years, it still comes up that I am a felon," Poole said.

He had given up his dream to become a foster father, but with the passage of Prop 47 in November 2014, new opportunities opened up. Prop 47 is law that reduces some non-violent felonies (i.e. drugs, theft /fraud under $950) to misdemeanors.

Last May, Poole had his drug related felony reduced to a misdemeanor.

"I reapplied, and when they ran my record, they found that I do not have any felonies on my record, and I am very happy about this," Poole said.

Just in the Sacramento region, there are an estimated 100,000 people who qualify for Prop 47. Through workshops like these, ex-cons can get help to get back on their feet.

"As great as Prop 47 is, having the resources in place is even more important," Gregory King, CEO of Always Knocking Inc.

King was one of the organizers of the event.

Last year, Jacqueline Lester found legal help to expunge her petty theft felony. Now she wants to help others understand the law.

"I'm registered in school to become a paralegal," Lester said.

While some find the Prop 47 controversial, others say it is the second chance they have always dreamed about.

"I have been a disease to the community by selling drugs, and I just want to give back by helping our youth," Poole said.

The "I AM PROP 47 Sacramento" Tour continues on March 19 at the Liberty Towers in North Highlands.