A clean slate clinic is planned in Kalamazoo to offer legally entitled expungement for eligible misdemeanors and felonies, and certain marijuana offenses. The purpose of the expungement clinic is to eliminate a barrier to employment for individuals who have criminal records.
The clinic will take place from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on August 20, 2021, in Bronson Park and City Hall, located at 241 W. South St. in downtown Kalamazoo. The event is being held simultaneous to Kzoo Parks Lunchtime Live event in Bronson Park. Food and refreshments will be available from a selection of local food trucks and vendors from 11:30 – 1:30, and live music will be performed from the stage.
Partners include the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Kalamazoo County Courts, Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Michigan Works! Southwest, and Disability Network Southwest Michigan.
To kick off the event, elected officials will be speaking from Bronson Park’s Rotary Stage starting at 10 a.m. on August 20, including Senator Sean McCann, Representatives Julie M. Rogers and Christine Morse, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson, and representatives of Michigan Works and Kalamazoo Defender.
Related to the partnership, Kalamazoo Defender and Michigan Works! also serve eligible people through expungement clinics each Friday at their offices in Suite 300 at 151 S. Rose St. in downtown Kalamazoo, which people can register for on the Michigan Works! website.
This is the second clinic offered by Kalamazoo Defender and the City of Kalamazoo. A client of the first event in 2020 who preferred to remain anonymous said, “I found it so uplifting that this is happening, I was really happy to see people that I’ve known myself walk in here and get a second chance.” A second client echoed this sentiment. “The Expungement Clinic is important to me because I just received my degree. Being that I am getting this expunged off my record I can find a career in my field.”
“The City and Foundation for Excellence are grateful to all partners in this initiative that will help ease the path to employment,” said Steve Brown, Foundation for Excellence Manager. “This directly contributes to fulfilling the FFE’s mission is to empower residents to achieve the lives they want for themselves and their families.”
Pre-registration was required using a new website offered by the Attorney General’s office to aid in expungement delivery in Michigan. Kalamazoo is only the second community to use it following Genesee County. Pre-registration helps ensure an orderly event that can help all potential clients. Those who attend the event without preregistering will be given information and can join a list for future assistance. Those who pre-registered but are unable to attend the event will also be helped at a later date.
Foundation for Excellence (FFE) will fund the expungement costs of all City of Kalamazoo residents seeking and qualifying for expungement services under this partnership, while Kalamazoo Defender will cover such expenses for all other qualifying Kalamazoo County residents. Michigan Works! will be present as well to assist in the expungement process and aid in participants next steps postexpungement.
About Kalamazoo Defender
Kalamazoo Defender is this County's first public defender office. On July 1, 2019, it began to accept as clients all adult criminal defendants within Kalamazoo County determined by the judiciary to be unable to afford legal representation. Kalamazoo Defender was chosen for this role after Kalamazoo County government boldly decided to award a contract to a non-profit that would have independence from the County and the courts.
About Michigan Works!
Michigan Works! Southwest is a 501c3 organization that is focused on supporting the Michigan workforce through programming and job search-related services. The goal of supportive programming at Michigan Works! is to aid Michigan workers in their pursuit for full-time, self-sustaining employment.
About the Foundation for Excellence
The Foundation for Excellence (FFE) is an independent 501c3 organization created to address systemic challenges to the prosperity of the city in order to help make Kalamazoo the most dynamic, fulfilling and equitable place that it can be for all neighbors to live, work, and enjoy life. To address its challenges the FFE provides funds to stabilize the City’s budget, lower the property tax rate, and invest in the City’s aspirational community projects and programs.