112. Criminal Expungement in Detroit Leads to New Beginnings


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The City of Detroit estimates that 215,000 residents have criminal records — and that about 75% of those residents are eligible for criminal record expungement – a proceeding that removes a person’s criminal record or conviction. ​

Last year, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan advocated for new state legislation that was signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer significantly expanding eligibility for expungement in Michigan. As you will learn, research and data has shown that expungement translates to better opportunities for employment, education, and housing for those who qualify.

Yet many residents don’t seek expungement because they don’t know they’re eligible, the process is complex, they may not be able to afford attorney fees, or they have had negative experiences with the criminal justice system.

In this episode, we turn our attention to Project Clean Slate, a program launched by Mayor Duggan to help people clear their criminal records and be a part of the city's comeback story – at no cost. The program recently filed its 1,000th expungement application.

On this episode, Rose Gill of the Bloomberg Associates Municipal Integrity team sits down with Carrie Jones, who leads Project Clean Slate, and Stephani Labelle, the program's lead attorney to discuss how the program has grown since it was launched in 2016 and how it supports residents throughout the expungement process. Mr. Bell, a Detroit resident who was previously a client of Project Clean Slate, and Mayor Duggan also join the podcast to discuss the importance of prioritizing expungement and what it means for Detroit residents.

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