WASHINGTON (Oct. 13, 2020)—Michigan becomes the third state to sign automatic record-clearing (“Clean Slate”) legislation into law. One of the landmark facets of this new law is a mechanism to automatically clear some criminal convictions after 10 years, which will directly benefit tens of thousands of Michiganders who have remained crime-free.

Nila Bala, Associate Director of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties at the R Street Institute, says: “This is a monumental day for Michigan. Automating record clearances will improve the lives for many folks with a criminal record, providing them a real second chance when applying to jobs and housing opportunities. These are individuals who have paid their debts to society and deserve a chance at the American Dream.”

In Michigan, some 500,000 individuals have a criminal record which makes it more difficult for them to find housing and earn a living. Before the passage of this legislation, Michigan’s expungement process was limited to people who committed no more than one felony and two misdemeanors during their lifetime. Now, with the state’s expansion of eligibility and record-clearing automation, many more Michiganders can receive the benefits of a clean slate.

“Many individuals do not have the resources to navigate the expensive, cumbersome and overly complicated petition-based expungement processes. Michigan’s new law will help solve that problem, save taxpayers money and keep fewer people behind bars who do not need to be there,” says Jesse Kelley, Government Affairs Manager for Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties at the R Street Institute.

The R Street Institute is a steering committee member of the Clean Slate Initiative, for more information visit the website.

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