Michigan's 'Clean Slate' initiative looks to Flint for support

FLINT, Michigan — A community dialogue on opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to find employment and expunge their records is planned for 6-8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Ferris Wheel in downtown Flint.

Designed as a listening session, the event is hosted by a coalition of advocacy groups. Michigan is one of several states targeted for possible adoption of a "Clean Slate" initiative, which has backing from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (founded by Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan) and an arm of the political heavyweight Koch brothers. 

The effort plans to enact state and federal legislation that would create digital systems to automatically clear some records — such as marijuana offenses or nonviolent crimes, according to The Washington Post. The effort was announced in Washington D.C. in November. 

Currently, Michigan residents must apply to have their records expunged, a somewhat complicated legal process. 

Organizers hope to gather stories and individuals to testify in support of Michigan legislation, which will be drafted in May, according to a release on the event. 

In Michigan, more than 95 percent of records eligible to be cleared have not been successfully expunged or sealed, according to analysis from University of Michigan researchers Sonja Starr and J.J. Prescott, The Washington Post reported.

Hosts of the Flint event are #WORKINGfuture (A campaign led by Just Leadership USA), Nation Outside, Safe & Just Michigan, and Elite Career Solutions. 

Read more articles by Ashley Schafer.

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