The future seems bright for Michigan residents now that they can have a do-over with the Clean Slate Act without the inconveniences of an application process. The new automatic expungement sets aside certain misdemeanors and low-level, non-violent offenses from the past without Michiganders engaging in any laborious paperwork.
Officially effective just last April 11, the Michigan State Police rolled out the expungement of eligible criminal convictions. An automated Criminal Record (CHR) database developed by the Department of Technology Management and Budget is available to the public.
With an anticipated one million expungement recipients, what does this mean for Michigan communities?
Scrubbing the past, shaping criminal justice reform
The University of Michigan Law School recently examined the state and demonstrated how expungement influences criminal justice reform efforts. Here are some findings:
- Meager rates of recidivism, or the tendency of a convicted criminal to relapse into criminal behavior: Only 7.1% out of all expungement recipients reoffended. Although the report acknowledges other potential contributing factors, the authors note that the outcome may address and ease the public’s concern for safety.
- Breaking bias and stigma: Improved chances at employment come with a clear record relief. Aside from better work odds, expungement laws also reduce obstacles to public housing, health benefits and food stamps. Some companies go above and beyond using technology to update their recordkeeping systems. However, the study recognizes how there are still employers, landlords and policymakers fearful of heightened security risks. The authors state that this behavior may be counterintuitive to society’s overall welfare.
- Increased income: Wages are far lower before the eligibility of expungement and go up by 22% within the first year of employment. Employment gains still prove noteworthy despite other economic circumstances.
This scholarly study provides an empirical perspective as Michigan’s new automated system seeks a balanced legal approach for all.
However, as with any new procedure, matters can easily get complex. A Michigan expungement lawyer is a reliable resource to turn to for consultation about your options in removing criminal convictions and steps forward dependent on your situation.
A second chance at life
Michigan now stands at the forefront of criminal justice reform efforts in this groundbreaking criminal record-sealing policy. With appropriate legal guidance, now is as good a time as any to start fresh with a clean slate.