Welcome back and thanks for joining us again here at The Kronzek Firm. We’ve been talking about the issue of expungement of criminal records, and how it affects people’s ability to get a decent job. As we mentioned in the previous article, a recent study done by researchers at U of M now provides empirical evidence that having a criminal record expunged makes a big difference for someone getting a job. Specifically, it allows them to get a better job with higher pay that directly benefits their family, and indirectly their community. It all sounds great, right? But what about the downsides?
Are there any issues people have with expunging records?
Another finding in the study was the fact that in most cases, people whose records are expunged don’t present a risk to the community, as their recidivism rates are so low. However, not everyone agrees with this perspective. One of the arguments made against expungement is that it strips people of the right to know. In other words, expunging criminal records denies members of the public the right to know what kind of person they’re dealing with. And for some, that kind of non-elective ignorance doesn’t feel right.
Why would people need to know about someone’s criminal history?
Employers will no longer be able to rely on criminal records checks to determine who they’re hiring. Likewise, landlords, credit bureaus, and insurance companies will be deprived of valuable information in their decision-making process. Who wants to live in the apartment next door to a convicted drug dealer? Who wants to pay extra for their car insurance because the insurance company didn’t know that their customer had been convicted for staging fraudulent accidents? Most parents don’t want their kids going to school right next door to the guy that did time for kiddie porn!
Could expungement potentially be bad for a community?
Although the study shows that recidivism rates are, on the whole, very low for people whose records have been expunged, it doesn’t change what they actually did. And this is where it gets tricky. Some people feel that removing a record of something is dishonest because it doesn’t alter history, it simply covers it up. The belief is that this expungement statute will erode the concept of accountability, and shift the bad decisions that people made onto the backs of the rest of their community. It’s definitely a hot button issue, and one that requires a great deal of thought and conversation as we proceed.
Do you have a criminal record that you’re hoping to have expunged in Michigan?
If you’ve got a criminal record in Michigan, and your life is being negatively impacted by it, we encourage you to download our expungement information form. After you fill it out and submit it with $90, we’ll be able to determine whether or not you’re eligible for a petition for expungement in Michigan. From there, you can hire us to help you throughout the process to ask the court to expunge public records of your conviction. (Remember – this only seals the public record. Courts, police officers, and some other officials will still be able to see past convictions.) It might seem like a lot, but it’s one of the best investments in your future you could possibly make! When you’re ready to take this first step to help the rest of your future, download the form and get it back to our office ASAP.