Clean Slate

Making paper from shredded criminal records with the People’s Paper Co-op. August 2019.

Making paper from shredded criminal records with the People’s Paper Co-op. August 2019.

What is Clean Slate?

Clean Slate is an effort to pass expansive and automatic legislation that allows people living w/ criminal records a life without collateral consequences - a clean slate.

Why are we advocating for better Clean Slate legislation for people with criminal records?

Currently in Michigan access to expungement is costly, narrow, and complicated. The majority of people living with a criminal record don't actually have access to expungement.  

-Under the current law: You can only have your record expunged if you have:

no more than 1 felony OR 2 misdemeanors convictions (traffic violations not included amongst other felonies) IF you are eligible, it is often a very difficult and costly process that can turn folks away. At minimum, there are processing fees and fingerprinting costs, while the average law office charges around $1000 for expungement services in Michigan.

With the lack of access to expungement comes a life of collateral consequences and discrimination (housing, employment, education) which often lead to recidivism. People should not still be affected by a legal mistake that happened years ago.

What we are doing?

We are working with partners to pass expansive clean slate legislation led by and for those living with criminal records and ensuring our clients voices are being heard in this fight. Currently, there is a push for clean slate legislation in Michigan that is being crafted by law enforcement officials. We believe that prosecutors and sheriffs should not be making decisions on what expungement should look like; rather, we should be asking those who have first hand experience with the system. Without asking those most directly impacted by the issues, we fall prey to reform that is weighted to benefit those in power. In fall of 2019, Michigan Legislature began considering bill package HB 4980-85 to increase access to expungement for Michiganders. Along with our partner organizations, we signed on to a statement calling for a greater range of expansion than these bills put forward based on the demands of community members who are most directly affected by the legislation.

How can others get involved?

Have you or your loved ones been impacted by incarceration? We need your voices to ensure the current legislation reflects the needs of our communities! Follow our calendar for updates.