A package of criminal justice reform bills with bipartisan support passed in Michigan’s House floor Tuesday.
If these criminal justice bills become law, Michiganders will have an easier time erasing certain crimes from their criminal record including low-level marijuana convictions and traffic offenses. Also, these bills will allow people to expunge their years-old crimes quicker.
State Rep. Graham Filler (R-New Haven) – who became one of the leaders in passing these House bills – believes it will “give hundreds of thousands of residents with old criminal convictions a new opportunity to start fresh.”
“This plan is going to change lives,” he said. “It’s going to open up new doors for good people whose past mistakes have kept them from accessing well-paying jobs. It’s going to help these citizens access financing options for housing and educational opportunities to better their future.”
According to a Michigan Law School study, people who have their criminal records erased show an upward trend in wages and employment trajectory. Furthermore, the 2019 study showed people having their records cleared within two years leading to a 25 percent in wages for them.
Jack O’Malley (R-Leelanau), who co-sponsored the criminal justice bill, believes these bills will make Michigan a leader in criminal justice reform.
“Not only is this plan going to help struggling people improve their lives, it will strengthen our economy by making thousands of ex-offenders more employable at a time when businesses across Michigan are having trouble finding skilled workers,” O’Malley said. “It’s time to start giving people who have already taken accountability for their past mistakes an opportunity to start fresh.”
Currently in Michigan, people can remove one felony or two misdemeanor charges from their records if they avoid legal problems for five years.
The next place for the bill is the Republican-led state Senate where it will decide its future.
Earlier this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a “Raise the Age” bill that treats 17-year-olds charged with crimes as juveniles rather than adults. People who are 17 can still be charged as an adult with crimes like rape or murder.
– – –