On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write in support of HB 4980, Clean Slate legislation in Michigan. Once an individual has paid their debt to society, and has proven themselves committed to being a law-abiding citizen, a criminal record shouldn’t stand in the way of their employment and housing.

The current record-clearing expungement process in Michigan is cumbersome, and highly bureaucratic. When citizens need lawyers to access their basic rights, government isn’t working. As a result, just a fraction of people who are eligible for expungement ever receive relief.  Clean Slate provides an opportunity to streamline and digitize this process, giving Michiganders the relief they deserve without compromising on our commitment to public safety.

Indeed, research suggests that vacating records actually contributes to public safety; those who have received expungements in Michigan have a crime rate even lower than the general population. This makes intuitive sense: when individuals can provide for their families, they are less likely to resort to crime. Research clearly shows that employment is a key factor in reducing recidivism. By easing the expungement process, we can help individuals enter the workforce and become productive members of our communities.

By establishing a process for the automatic set-asides of certain eligible criminal records after a crime-free period, the Clean Slate policy gets Michiganders back into the workforce while keeping Michigan safe.

With Clean Slate, there is a real opportunity to give those who are struggling the pride, respect, and dignity that comes with having a job while at the same time strengthening our workforce. We are proud to give our support to Clean Slate.

American Conservative Union
FreedomWorks
R Street Institute
Texas Public Policy Foundation/Right on Crime