SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) – Residents got a chance at a clean slate thanks to an expungement assistance initiative.
“It’s really important that we recognize that people make changes in their life and they’re trying to do better,” said Shanell Boos, from Peer 360 Recovery Alliance.
People looking for a second chance in life gathered at United Methodist Church for the Saginaw Expungement Clinic.
The event hosted by Peer 360 Recovery Alliance had lawyers on hand to help individuals with criminal records start the process to have it expunged.
“A lot of people get into trouble times in their lives, a lot of people make mistakes, but then it follows them the rest of their life,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Nessel said having a criminal record holds people back who are trying to do better for themselves, affecting their ability to get good jobs, an education, and housing even if they have been crime free for years.
“What we know is this for people who are able to get their convictions expunged within one year’s time, their income is likely to increase by 22 percent. And that’s just the first year. And not only that, but it helps bring down crime because people who get their convictions expires are far less likely ever to be involved in criminal conduct again,” Nessel said.
Lawyers were on hand to help people find out if they were eligible to have their records expunged and fill out the paperwork if they were.
“We had 18 attorneys volunteer to come in pro bono and volunteer their time to help people fill out the paperwork necessary for the expungement,” Boos said.
“We have about a million people in the state of Michigan who are now currently eligible to get their convictions cleared. We want to help as many people as possible and get them you know, on the road to a place where you know they’re gonna be able to provide for themselves and their families and not get into trouble anymore,” Nessel said.
Boos it is important to have walk in clinics like this one because it gives people an opportunity that they might not otherwise have because of their criminal record.
“A lot of different areas of life are impeded by having things on your record,” Boos said.
Organizers said if you do not qualify to have your record expunged now to check back later because you may be eligible to have it expunged in the future.
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