For Immediate Release: September 24, 2020
Contact: Heather Cabral, [email protected], 202-550-6880
LANSING, Mich. – Today, the Senate passed bipartisan Clean Slate legislation to reduce the bureaucracy related to clearing old legal records that can block Michigan residents from opportunity. The legislation, supported by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, and many in the business community will automate the expungement of certain criminal records after several years. The bill could allow hundreds of thousands of Michiganders – with up to decades of law-abiding behavior – enhance their ability to gain employment and life stability, providing opportunities to support themselves and their families. Studies show that such policies are effective public safety measures that stop cycles of crime and make communities safer by creating economic stability.
“Michigan’s clean slate legislation will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the state and their families, while improving the health and safety of communities,” said Robert Rooks, Vice President of Alliance for Safety and Justice, which has worked with state and local leaders to advocate for the legislation. “By clearing old conviction records, Michigan will ensure that people can successfully re-enter the workforce, saving taxpayer dollars and making everyone safer.
Priscilla Bordayo, a crime victim and leader in Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice in Lansing shared her own testimony during the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety subcommittee during its June hearings: “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 and promote economic health, like this, are so important. They promote healthy families and communities, which are effective safeguards to prevent crime and improve safety.”
Currently, only 6.5% of people eligible for expungements are able to navigate the complex petition process required to access them – a few thousand people each year. The average person that obtains an expungement sees a 25% increase in personal income within two years.
The proposed criminal justice package of bills was 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 who also shared her testimony with the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety in June, stated: “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.”
Rep. Graham Filler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said: “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.”