New Law Helps Those with Criminal Records Get a “Clean Slate”

Michigan House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120 were signed into law on Monday. The “Clean Slate” criminal justice reform is aimed at expunging the records of people who have committed certain felonies and misdemeanors.

With recreational marijuana decriminalized since late 2018, those convicted of both felonies and misdemeanors are now able to get one or more pot charges set aside if the crime would not have been a felony after the decriminalization. Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said, “This anti-poverty, pro-job opportunity Clean Slate legislation will reinvigorate the economic potential of hundreds of thousands of Michiganders whose records have hindered their availability to get a job or secure housing, and it will help us grow our workforce.”

This law is estimated to affect over 80,000 Detroiters and likely has effects on residents of the Blue Water Area. A University of Michigan Law School study found that people who receive expungements see a 23% increase in income within a year.

The bipartisan effort was praised by Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield who said it helps to end the “cruel cycle of poverty and crime”.

Reporting for WGRT – Jennie McClelland