For Immediate Release | June 24, 2020
LANSING, Mich. – Today, the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee passed Clean Slate legislation. The legislation, supported by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice and many in the business community will help remove post-conviction barriers for Michigan residents. The legislation, which received tremendous bi-partisan support, includes criminal record expungement that could help hundreds of thousands of Michiganders – with up to decades of law-abiding behavior – enhance their ability to gain employment and life stability. By clearing past criminal records, the bill creates the opportunity for people to support themselves and their families. Study after study shows that creating economic stability stops cycles of crime and makes communities safer.
“Michigan’s clean slate legislation will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the state and also the lives of their families. By expunging old criminal records, Michigan will improve public safety, save taxpayer dollars and help ensure that people can successfully re-enter the workforce,” said Robert Rooks, Vice President of Alliance for Safety and Justice. Rooks and his team have long worked with state and local leaders and lawmakers on the Michigan Clean Slate initiative and are encouraged by today’s movement.
Priscilla Bordayo, a crime victim and community leader in Lansing shared her own testimony in this morning’s hearing, As a crime survivor, what is most important to me is that what happened to me does not happen again — to me or anyone else. This is why policies that are proven to reduce recidivism, like Clean Slate legislation, are so important.”
Currently, only 6.5% of eligible people are able to navigate the complex petition process required to access expungement – a few thousand people each year. The average person that obtains an expungement sees a 25% increase in personal income within two years, thus the passage of legislation like the type introduced today, will help make stronger and safer communities.
The proposed criminal justice package of bills were introduced last summer.
“When a non-violent offender has done their time, paid their debt to society, and wants to begin building or rebuilding a life in which they can pursue a career and provide for themselves and their family, there needs to be a point where their slate becomes clean and they are able to move on with their lives,” said Senator Peter J. Lucido, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. “If we want them to be hardworking, law abiding members of the community, it doesn’t make sense to hinder their ability to pursue honest employment. Clean Slate is good for families, communities and the workforce, while exponentially increasing the odds that the former offender is able to pursue education, training and employment that will ease their way back into normal life.”
Deleah Sharp, Oakland County Chapter Coordinator for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, said “As victims of crime and violence, we have a huge stake in making our communities safer. People with felony convictions on their record face immense barriers to jobs, housing, education, and other opportunities to achieve economic stability – which we know is key to reducing recidivism. I applaud the committee for passing this Clean Slate legislation.”
“We want to ensure that people who have served their time and remained crime free, can have their records cleared so that they can be productive members of the workforce and their communities. Automatic expungements of criminal records will not only help us all have safer communities it will also help stop cycles of crime, something we can all agree is a step in the right direction” Rep. Graham Filler, chairman, House Judiciary Committee.
Contact: Heather Cabral