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San Luis Obispo man clears criminal record and is now felony free

Posted at 9:33 AM, Mar 24, 2023

A San Luis Obispo man is spreading the word on how people with a criminal record can 'clean the slate' for a second chance at their future.

Less than a decade ago, Jason Hunter was facing a 12-year sentence in the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

Now, his record is clear - and he’s the Head Chef of The Bridge Cafe in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Hunter worked with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office and Restorative Partners to enter into a treatment program - helping him reduce his sentence and later, expunge his record.

Hunter says that if he can redirect his life anyone can - they just need to put in the work.

“It’s a game changer. I mean no felonies. It’s hard to get a job with felonies. Nowadays, everybody looks at you like - because you have a felony you’re a bad person," said Hunter. "Just cause you have a felony, you’re not a bad person, you’re just a person who had troubles. From my experience, it goes to show you, anyone can change. Here I am - no felonies, and running The Bridge Cafe.”

Hunter says if it wasn’t for the help of Restorative Partners - he’d probably still be in and out of prison.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is teaming up with the San Luis Obispo County Probation Department, San Luis Obispo Defenders, Restorative Partners, People’s Justice Project, California Rural Legal Assistance, and San Luis Obispo College of Law to put on a free legal 'Clean Slate Clinic'.

Those eligible may apply for criminal record expungement, felony reduction, and arrest record sealing.

The clinic takes on Friday, March 24, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo County Law Library located at 1050 Monterey Street, # 125, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408.

Organizers hope to help eliminate a barrier to employment and housing for people with a criminal background.