City of Detroit celebrates 10,000 expungements with Project Clean Slate

Posted at 6:43 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 23:53:12-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Ten thousand. That's the number of hard-fought expungements Mayor Mike Duggan is high-fiving on Monday in Detroit thanks to Project Clean Slate. It's a program Mayor Duggan started in 2016.

The mayor, community partners and many who were helped by Project Clean Slate were celebrating Monday in the city.

“I never thought I'd see the day we had 10,000 convictions expunged just out of the City of Detroit,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.

This is a big deal for Mayor Mike Duggan and the city. Project Clean Slate, a program the mayor launched in 2016, helps remove past convictions and opens doors for employment and housing.

“I was the one trying to get a lawyer to help me to clear my record, but it was too costly,” said one who benefited from the program.

One by one those helped by Project Clean Slate gave high fives grateful for the help giving them a fresh start with a clean record.

“Thirty years, I wrote to the courts in Lansing never heard anything,” said Brooks.

Charles Brooks is another. This once troubled kid who found himself behind bars had no idea, he was bipolar and following the wrong crowd.

“So, what were you doing with your friends?” I asked.

“Started off skipping school, drinking, smoking but it advanced as we got older stealing cars, breaking into houses,” said Brooks.

Today at 34, Project Clean Slate gave this father the ability to attend nursing school and become president of his college fraternity.

“The fact that I can go to my kid's school and go on field trips with them, that's what I love,” said Brooks.

“I think this is even more epic than the NFL Draft,” said Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.

Former State Legislator Sherry Gay-Dagnogo helped pass bipartisan legislation to make expungement easier in 2020.

“We're only the 3rd state in the country to advance expungement laws,” said Gay-Dagnogo.

“The numbers show based on a study by the University of Michigan 2-to-3 million people in the state of Michigan need access to some form of expungement whether it's low-level offenses, marijuana or otherwise,” said Gay-Dagnogo.

Charles found Project Clean Slate through a Facebook page of Gay-Dagnogo.

“It felt comfortable,” said Brooks.

“How long did it take for you to get expungement,” I asked.

“Less than a year,” said Brooks.

This program is nationally recognized and is the only city run program that employs full-time attorneys with the sole purpose of expunging records.

“The overwhelming majority of our residents who get expunged see significant increases in their employment... personal income and their quality of life,” said Duggan.

For Charles and others there is nothing but gratitude.

“It don't look realistic at first whether on your own or with attorneys but I'm a product of it it can really get done,” said Brooks.

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