The City of Grand Rapids Office of Oversight and Public Accountability (OPA) and its community partners will host its second annual Clean Slate GR Expungement Program Saturday, May 13. The 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. event – at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2500 Division Ave. S, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 – welcomes guests interested in learning more about the State of Michigan’s Clean Slate process.
For those who wish to attend this event, preregistration is required. Registration is now open through April 12 at grandrapidsmi.gov/OPA. The site contains information on event expectations, expungement eligibility, benefits of attending, a participant pre-registration form and a volunteer sign-up form.
Brandon Davis, director of oversight and public accountability, said he is excited to once again host this event which last year was “amazingly successful in helping more than 500 people navigate the criminal expungement process. Those efforts gave these individuals – many for the first time – the opportunity to do things like get stable housing and find meaningful employment.
“This expungement program is one of the restorative justice efforts that OPA is implementing to advance equity and justice in our criminal justice and public safety systems. This will make a positive impact on the lives of members of our community, and that is what this work is all about. We are doing life-changing work and I am proud to do it.”
This year’s Clean Slate event will also feature a social equity job program co-sponsored by JARS Cannabis. Multiple felon-friendly employers from inside and outside of the cannabis industry will be present and prepared to offer jobs to Clean Slate participants. Those companies are hiring for various dispensary-based positions, such as budtenders, delivery drivers/curbside specialists, and packagers. JARS will also offer job readiness training to individuals interested in participating.
Michigan’s “Clean Slate” legislation, signed in 2020, allows Michiganders to expunge eligible criminal records. The law made Michigan a national leader in criminal record-sealing policy and includes an automatic expungement provision that eliminates certain crimes from personal records as of April 11, 2023. The legislation and its impacts align with commitments contained in the City’s and OPA’s strategic plans to advance equity by identifying systemic issues that cause disparate outcomes in the justice system and implementing strategies to address them.
The City’s Clean Slate GR Expungement Program will not only provide and assist those who wish to file with the State for possible expungement but will assist with skill building for job interviews, provide resume reviews and distribute information on a variety of available community resources. Agencies representing veteran services, voting rights, food pantries, substance abuse treatment, housing and shelter will partner with the City during the event.
Michigan’s Clean Slate law allows first-time offenders of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) convictions (in which no one was injured), eligible to petition for expungement five years after their probation ends. The new law also makes all misdemeanors for marijuana possession and usage eligible for expungement, impacting an estimated 240,000 people. The law expands eligibility to many people who were not previously eligible because they had more than one felony and more than two misdemeanors or unpaid court fines/fees.
The Clean Slate law allows up to three felonies to be set aside in a lifetime and places a no-lifetime limit on misdemeanors. It reduces the waiting period to three years for misdemeanors and permits applications for multiple felonies after seven years.
A person is eligible for record clearance in Michigan even if they have unpaid court-assigned fines and fees. Life offenses and felony criminal sexual conduct convictions are not eligible under Clean Slate. The new law expanded eligibility to include most drug, property, and traffic offenses.