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People wanting to clear their criminal records attend "expungement fair" in Flint

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

“Let’s Do This!” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel shouted at the kickoff of a criminal record expungement fair in Flint on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people stood in long lines for hours in front of the Genesee County jail, waiting for their chance to get criminal convictions cleared from their records.

A new state lawexpands the number of misdemeanors and felonies people can try to get expunged.

Nessel plans to hold many such expungement fairs in counties across the state.

“It’s not just hundreds of thousands of people that are eligible,” says Nessel. “It could be up to a million people that have convictions on their record that are actually eligible as of today to get those expunged.”

The line outside the Genesee County jail started forming hours before the expungement fair opened after 10 a.m. Eventually, the line stretched around the block. 

Many people in line said they wanted to get their criminal records expunged to make it easier for them to find a job or get an education.

William Allison is a retiree. He has a different reason to clear his record.

"It really won’t change my life...it’ll just make me feel better about myself,” says Allison. “I like to be free.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.