Clearing People's Records Is The Right Thing To Do

September 20, 2019

Lawmakers have a plan in Michigan, and people from both sides of the aisle are coming together to make it happen. It’s called “expungement reform.” This is a plan that could help a lot of people with convictions get their records cleared. Here’s how it works.

Under Michigan’s current law, people can have one felony conviction, or two misdemeanors, set aside after five years. The Detroit News reported that a new bill “would remove barriers allowing automatic expungement for certain offenders, cover more offenses and shorten the eligibility period.” 

It would also allow people with marijuana convictions to have offenses set aside that no longer apply under state laws that have been changed. This is similar to Project Clean Slate in Detroit, an expungement initiative that helps people get access to much-needed resources.

A LOT of people could benefit from this. For example, Detroit News states: “In Detroit alone, about 82,000 residents are eligible for expungement under the state's current laws. If the proposal goes through, the city estimates 133,000 more would qualify.” That’s MAJOR.

One of the many reasons expungement is important is because for far too long, people have acted like because someone made a mistake once, they should be punished forever. That’s NOT true, especially for Black people in a system stacked against us. People deserve a chance.

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