By Jordyn Gleaton
OAKLAND, CA – Formerly incarcerated people often have difficulty in re-entry into society because of barriers on essential services and inadequate preparation, assistance and resources for life after conviction– ex-convicts are ineligible for many public benefits and their prior convictions limit their opportunities to move forward.
However, formerly convicted Joel Naito has been able to have a lot of success within the first three years after his probation expired.
Currently, Naito is interviewing for accounting internships for this summer, which will help him secure more permanent jobs once he graduates. He currently has four accounting internship opportunities in Washington State and Denver.
But because he still worries those convictions will negatively affect his future, he recently asked the court here to dismiss his prior convictions.
Ultimately the court sided with prosecution attorney Veronica Rios Reddick and denied Naito’s application to have his convictions dismissed, largely because of Naito’s convictions in Aug 2018 and Jan 2018 along with multiple revoked probations.
The court denied Naito’s application because he did not comply with the conditions that came with his probations and his convictions were only three to four years old. The crimes and short three years he has been off of probation were simply not enough to truly establish rehabilitation where the court wanted to dismiss his convictions, the court said.
However, the court did offer some hope, stating that Naito is on the correct path and would be a great candidate in the future with a longer record of rehabilitation for a conviction dismissal.
Previously convicted of car theft and unlawful driving with petty theft, and then released on probation, Naito voluntarily enrolled himself in a two month rehabilitation program with the support of his family and friends.
Following Naito’s completion of the program, he removed himself from his previous environment to distance himself from temptations and focus on his sobriety (he’s been sober ever since).
Later, Naito worked for an airline as a ticket and ramp agent. Over the last summer, Naito worked a seasonal job at a fishing company. Despite these successes, Naito still has had trouble finding jobs because of his convictions. For example, he lost his job at Walgreens after a background check after a few weeks of employment.
Shortly after, Naito enrolled in school where he will graduate with a B.A. in accounting in 2022. Naito has proven to have much success in school, which is evident on his transcript, being on the Chancellor’s list for the Spring 2020 semester and the Dean’s list for the Fall 2020 semester.
Jordyn Gleaton is a court watch reporter for The Vanguard at Berkeley. She is a first year student at UC Berkeley studying Political Science and Legal Studies. She is from Tracy, CA.
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