Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,503,000)
In the City of Detroit Michigan one in three people have a conviction on their records that can prevent them from fully accessing employment, housing, and educational opportunities. In 2016, Mayor Duggan launched an innovative program called Project Clean Slate (PCS) to address this issue.
PCS is a free expungement program for Detroiters. PCS assists its clients by determining whether they are eligible for expungement, and if so, increasing the likelihood of a successful application by providing dedicated legal support. PCS handles all steps of the expungement process - from retrieving criminal records, purchasing certified court records, drafting the expungement application, filing and serving the documents, and finally, representing the clients at court hearings. A 2019 study by the University of Michigan found that people who have their criminal records expunged see an average wage increase of 23% one-year post-expungement.
In April 2021, new legislation took effect that greatly expanded the number and types of convictions eligible for expungement, more that doubling the number of Detroiters eligible to have their convictions set aside. 11,000 people registered for PCS services in 2021 - more than the previous four years combined. PCS must scale up to meet this demand and will use grant funds in order to build capacity. The addition of an attorney, three legal assistants, a client relations clerk, and a liaison to the Detroit Police Department will both increase the number of Detroiters PCS will be able to serve and the speed at which they can do so. Funding will also be used to educate Detroiters about PCS and the benefits of expungement.