Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity awards funds to Michigan Works! Agencies to support local expungement efforts
April 13, 2021 Lansing, MI (AMN) – Over the coming months, returning citizens can get help with expunging eligible convictions from their criminal record to aid them in their pursuit of full-time, self-sufficient employment thanks to a $4M investment in the Clean Slate Pilot program from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).
“My goal since day one of taking office has been to build fundamental reforms to make our communities safer and improve the people’s outcomes going through our criminal justice system. The bipartisan Clean Slate legislation fundamentally changed Michigan’s criminal history expungement laws, for the better,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “The Clean Slate Pilot program offers a stop-gap for expungement services until the Clean Slate law goes into effect in 2022. We’re excited to get to work. Soon Michiganders will be able to feel the real changes that will come about from this program.”
Setting aside a conviction, sometimes called expungement of criminal records, will remove a specific conviction from a public criminal record. If returning citizens get an order setting aside their conviction, they can legally state on any job or school application that they have never been convicted of or arrested for that crime. They will also be able to state that they have not been convicted of that crime on applications for public benefits, housing or employment.
“Before this legislation and this pilot program, there were many barriers in place for returning citizens,” Susan Corbin, LEO Director said. “These barriers to seeking criminal record expungement include a lack of information, time constraints, cost of retaining a private attorney and fear of the criminal justice system. With the Clean Slate Pilot program, Michigan Works! Agencies will help these citizens overcome many of these barriers and guide them on a path to success.”
The Clean Slate Pilot Program funding will be awarded to all 16 Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs) throughout the state with each of the agencies providing localized efforts.
“Before this legislation, just under 7% of eligible individuals pursued an expungement,” said Shamar Herron, Executive Director, Michigan Works! Southeast. “We know how important equitable access to expungements are for job seekers. According to a University of Michigan Study, after having a record expunged, job seekers obtained employment at an increase of 11% and their income rose by 25% in two years. Michigan Works! Agencies and the Clean Slate Pilot program will help job seekers overcome many barriers and guide them on a path to success, while providing support to area businesses by increasing the number of available workers, adding to the talent pool.”
To be eligible for assistance through the Clean Slate Pilot Program, the potential participant’s criminal record must have:
- No more than one felony conviction.
- No more than two misdemeanor convictions.
- No traffic offenses, such as operating while intoxicated.
- Been at least five years since the date of conviction, release from incarceration, or discharge of probation or parole.