The Stigma of Criminal Convictions | Choosing to Hope, Calling to Help with Sara Rodriguez

Sara Rodriguez has an incredible personal story which made the LA Times, as she was one of the thousands in San Bernardino County that automatic expungement of marijuana related convictions had not filtered down to.

A drug possession charge sent her to jail many years ago, and after many ups and downs, she made a decision to rebuild her life. She did so, earning two degrees and dedicating herself to a career of social work on behalf of the formerly incarcerated. But, for all she has accomplished personally against enormous odds, in her heart, it’s not about her at all.

In this podcast, you will hear her cite real world examples of the stigma of criminal convictions, with challenges in getting housing, internships in college, and participating in kids’ field trips, and how those challenges do not go away even for those that have “turned things around.” She will give a sense of the difficulties of dealing with the court system for people whose only exposure to the Courts has been negative, and why resources are so important.

Ultimately, she is Exhibit 1 of how to make life’s lemons into tasty lemonade, and how “regular people” do extraordinary things toward the cause of justice.


  • Attorney at Law
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Media Appearances