LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– The Michigan Senate has passed the ‘Clean Slate Bill’ which makes it easier for people to have some criminal records expunged.
These would only include non-violent crimes.
“It’s literally going to change the lives of thousands of people in Michigan,” said crime victim advocate and supporter of the Clean Slate Bill, Priscilla Bordayo.
This bill would make it easier for some people to have their criminal records cleared. It would also increase the number of crimes that can be cleared —from one felony to two, and from two misdemeanors to four. People would just have to stay out of trouble for 7 years after their most recent offense for a misdemeanor —and 10 years for a felony— to have their records cleared.
One of those people who could benefit from the bill is Kevin Harris. Harris says he had two convictions back in the 1980s and 1990s.
“There are people who have been out of prison for 30 years and 40 years who have not gotten any kind of trouble but because of they have one felony on their record 40 years ago and put them in positions to be discriminated against,” said Harris.
Thankfully, Harris was lucky enough to beat the odds and find a job with a criminal history.
“I have been fortune it enough to work hard and you know overcome some of the barriers despite my records but not everyone has those same blessings and it doesn’t shake out for everyone in the same way,” said Harris.
Having any kind of criminal background can make it difficult to find a job, and when you don’t have any money, you can’t find adequate housing or food.
“What’s the number one thing when you have to fill out the application.. have you committed a felony or do you have a misdemeanor? That automatically sets you back,” said Bordayo.
And prevent people from continuing to commit crimes.
“I have the resource to get a good paying job, to provide for my family, it’s most likely that I’m not going to resort back to crime so I can provide for my family,” said Bordayo.
Less crimes, also means less crime victims.
“We want to happen to us not to happen again and you know this is the type of legislation that helps increase public safety so that people don’t have to commit a crime this often because of the lack of an unemployment and because of the lack of access to things like education,” said Thomas, who was the victim of a crime.
Supporters say this bill would give people a second chance to re-build their lives.
“Your past and mistakes prevent you promising future and may individuals want to go back to school, want to get jobs want to get safe housing to provide stability for their family so the second chance, we all need a second chance and third chance,” said managing director for crime survivors for safety and justice, Aswad Thomas.
The bill still has to pass through the House, but a vote is expected on that Thursday.