CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

Equal Rights For All

Shri Thanedar is a trained scientist who earned a doctorate in chemistry. Shri wants to be a catalyst for real change by applying his knowledge and expertise to create custom legislative solutions for Michigan.

Shri will propose legislation to dramatically expand the scope of civil rights in Michigan. 

The following are Shri’s legislative priorities and solutions for “Better Solutions/Better Lives in Michigan”:

The “Phoenix Act:” Expungement Reform

The Issue: 

In America, the concept of “time served” is a misnomer, as the shackles of a lifetime of collateral consequences make a criminal record an obstacle for over 100 million Americans. 

Each year, more than 650,000 people are expected to reintegrate into our communities, often with substance abuse and mental health issues, minimal education, no job to sustain a life, and no stable home awaiting them.

Shri’s Solution:

The symbolic meaning of the phoenix is about renewal and restoration.  The same principle can be applied to Michigan’s citizens who are returning from incarceration,  who have overcome contact with the criminal justice system, paid their due to society, but need assistance to rise to the challenge of community re-entry so that that they can become powerful, productive and succeed.  The “Phoenix Act” includes the following: 

“Returning Citizens Empowerment Act”

The Issue:

Citizens return to society only to face a number of statutory and practical criminal record barriers without support or resources.  This ultimately impacts every layer of Michigan society – communities, schools, the labor force, law enforcement – and often puts Michiganders at risk or in harm’s way. 

 Shri’s Solution:

Former prison inmates are often precariously housed and almost 10 times more likely to become homeless than the general population.

Phoenix-Detroit Re-Entry Facility:

I will propose legislation to roll out a special pilot program to open a Phoenix Michigan Reentry Facility in Detroit, a special transitional state facility working with the Michigan Department of Corrections for offenders slated for release within 18 months. “Returning citizens” would receive intensive counseling, vocational training and housing support so they will leave with two of the most important things: a job and a home. Other urban centers will be located for future consideration based on need and funding.

Affordable Housing 

Phoenixbnb:”  The proposed legislation would launch a program  that takes the Airbnb approach, matching recently released offenders with homeowners willing to rent to them.

Phoenix Commission: Phoenix Act  legislation will create created a special commission to make it easier for state inmates to find housing and employment. 

Phoenix Youth Rental Assistance: I also want to work with the Detroit Housing Authority to provide rental assistance to formerly incarcerated college students at risk of homelessness.

Jobs for Returning Citizens/Access to Full-Time Work

The Issue:

The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is nearly five times higher than the unemployment rate for the general United States population, and substantially higher than even the worst years of the Great Depression. And, when formerly incarcerated people do land jobs, they are often the most insecure and lowest-paying positions.

Shri’s Solution:

Here is my plan to create access to good jobs for returning citizens and increase public safety:

  1. Issue Temporary Basic Income At Release: Providing short-term financial stability for formerly incarcerated people would operate as an investment, helping to ease reintegration and provide public safety and recidivism reduction benefits that would result in long-term cost savings.
  2. Make Bond Insurance and Tax Benefits for Employers Widely Available: Some governments  offer insurance and tax incentives for employers who hire people with criminal records, protecting against real or perceived risks of loss. Increasing the availability of such programs in Michigan would provide hesitant employers with added financial security.
  3. Ban Blanketed Employer Discrimination: Criminal records are not good proxies for employ-ability. Additionally, because of racially disproportionate incarceration rates, organizations that discriminate against people with criminal records may also be contributing to racial discrimination and are subject to litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  4. Enact Occupational Licensing Reform: Many jobs require prospective workers to obtain job-related state licenses. Unfortunately, acquiring such licenses often involves passing a criminal background check. Michigan can and should reform  licensing practices  to eliminate the automatic rejection of people with felony conviction.
  5. Implement Automatic Record Expungement Procedures: A prison sentence should not be a perpetual punishment. Having an automatic mechanism for criminal record expungement that takes into account the offense type and length of time since sentencing would, in the near term, help formerly incarcerated people succeed and would, in the long term, promote public safety. 

Marijuana Expungements

The Issue:

The war on drugs has been a total failure and only served to incarcerate hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown people for just trying to survive. Fast forward to December 2018, recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan  and as a result, almost a quarter of a million Michigan residents now need clearance of their minor marijuana convictions. There was no clear path to decriminalize people who have been impacted by Michigan’s criminal justice system when it comes to minor marijuana convictions because our state government is not equipped with the proper technology and tools to implement automatic record clearance on a large scale. 

Shri’s Solution:

Automatically clearing people’s records to wipe out the collateral consequences of having a criminal record including loss of earning power and personal productivity. Under my new law, people will be eligible to have their records fully expunged, using “Clear My Record technology, which means marijuana convictions won’t pop up in  routine background checks or in law enforcement databases. 

Automatic Expungements in Michigan

The Issue:

1 in 3 people in America have a criminal record that shows up in a routine background check. That means that 70 to 100 million people are adversely impacted  and thousands of people right here in Michigan can’t get jobs, student loans, public housing and face a long list of other barriers that prevent them from leading self-sufficient lives even though they have already paid their “debt” to society.  

Shri’s Solution:

Current proposed automatic expungement bills require a 10-year wait. Once people pay their debt to society and the obligatory five years have passed, there is no need to make people wait five years longer. 

Record clearance can be a daunting, time consuming and costly task that places a severe financial burden on returning citizens and people touched by Michigan’s criminal justice system.  

Once people qualify for an expungement under the 5-Year Rule Michigan can use new technology now available to governments across America. “The Clear My Record” program, for example,  is  a useful remedy to implement automatic record expungement  for eligible citizens seeking record clearance. It is an opt-in program that can interface with Michigan databases to easily offer people a fresh start.  

Once the State of Michigan partners with Code for America, which offers “Clear My record,” can begin processing it and can provide the required expungement paperwork to prosecutors, who will then present the cases to judges to approve en masse. Code for America will begin doing the work at no cost to Illinois taxpayers.  

Homes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) Expansion to age 25

The Issue:

HYTA was put in place in the 1960s to give young offenders between the ages of 17 and 20 an opportunity to plead guilty to their crime and successfully complete a term of supervision or incarceration. In exchange, their offense does not appear on their criminal record. 

In 2015, HYTA eligibility was expanded from a young offender’s 21st birthday until their 24th birthday, allowing 21-23-year olds to plead guilty to a HYTA offense with the consent of the prosecuting attorney. They also require that a HYTA trainee be in school, working, or actively looking for work to maintain this special status.

Shri’s Solution:

HYTA STATUS EXPANSION: Research shows that brain development varies from person to person, but most experts suggest that the brain is fully developed by age 25

The fact that our brains aren’t developed until the mid 20s means that “legal adults” (those age 18+) are allowed to make adult decisions, without fully mature brains.  Someone who is 18 may make riskier decisions than someone in their mid-20s in part due to lack of experience, but primarily due to an underdeveloped brain.

With that in mind, Shri will introduce legislation to raise the HYTA age limit to 25, offering a second chance to young offenders to have a clear record. The current HYTA law only allows special status with the consent of the prosecuting attorney. Shri’s legislative package will includes a new provision that will allow for judicial review and “veto” in cases where the prosecutor declines to provide consent for HYTA status.

Equal Rights For All

Shri Thanedar is a trained scientist who earned a doctorate in chemistry. Shri wants to be a catalyst for real change by applying his knowledge and expertise to create custom legislative solutions for Michigan.

Shri will propose legislation to dramatically expand the scope of civil rights in Michigan. 

The following are Shri’s legislative priorities and solutions for “Better Solutions/Better Lives in Michigan”:

The “Phoenix Act:” Expungement Reform

The Issue: 

In America, the concept of “time served” is a misnomer, as the shackles of a lifetime of collateral consequences make a criminal record an obstacle for over 100 million Americans. 

Each year, more than 650,000 people are expected to reintegrate into our communities, often with substance abuse and mental health issues, minimal education, no job to sustain a life, and no stable home awaiting them.

Shri’s Solution:

The symbolic meaning of the phoenix is about renewal and restoration.  The same principle can be applied to Michigan’s citizens who are returning from incarceration,  who have overcome contact with the criminal justice system, paid their due to society, but need assistance to rise to the challenge of community re-entry so that that they can become powerful, productive and succeed.  The “Phoenix Act” includes the following: 

“Returning Citizens Empowerment Act”

The Issue:

Citizens return to society only to face a number of statutory and practical criminal record barriers without support or resources.  This ultimately impacts every layer of Michigan society – communities, schools, the labor force, law enforcement – and often puts Michiganders at risk or in harm’s way. 

 Shri’s Solution:

Former prison inmates are often precariously housed and almost 10 times more likely to become homeless than the general population.

Phoenix-Detroit Re-Entry Facility:

I will propose legislation to roll out a special pilot program to open a Phoenix Michigan Reentry Facility in Detroit, a special transitional state facility working with the Michigan Department of Corrections for offenders slated for release within 18 months. “Returning citizens” would receive intensive counseling, vocational training and housing support so they will leave with two of the most important things: a job and a home. Other urban centers will be located for future consideration based on need and funding.

Affordable Housing 

Phoenixbnb:”  The proposed legislation would launch a program  that takes the Airbnb approach, matching recently released offenders with homeowners willing to rent to them.

Phoenix Commission: Phoenix Act  legislation will create created a special commission to make it easier for state inmates to find housing and employment. 

Phoenix Youth Rental Assistance: I also want to work with the Detroit Housing Authority to provide rental assistance to formerly incarcerated college students at risk of homelessness.

Jobs for Returning Citizens/Access to Full-Time Work

The Issue:

The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is nearly five times higher than the unemployment rate for the general United States population, and substantially higher than even the worst years of the Great Depression. And, when formerly incarcerated people do land jobs, they are often the most insecure and lowest-paying positions.

Shri’s Solution:

Here is my plan to create access to good jobs for returning citizens and increase public safety:

  1. Issue Temporary Basic Income At Release: Providing short-term financial stability for formerly incarcerated people would operate as an investment, helping to ease reintegration and provide public safety and recidivism reduction benefits that would result in long-term cost savings.
  2. Make Bond Insurance and Tax Benefits for Employers Widely Available: Some governments  offer insurance and tax incentives for employers who hire people with criminal records, protecting against real or perceived risks of loss. Increasing the availability of such programs in Michigan would provide hesitant employers with added financial security.
  3. Ban Blanketed Employer Discrimination: Criminal records are not good proxies for employ-ability. Additionally, because of racially disproportionate incarceration rates, organizations that discriminate against people with criminal records may also be contributing to racial discrimination and are subject to litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  4. Enact Occupational Licensing Reform: Many jobs require prospective workers to obtain job-related state licenses. Unfortunately, acquiring such licenses often involves passing a criminal background check. Michigan can and should reform  licensing practices  to eliminate the automatic rejection of people with felony conviction.
  5. Implement Automatic Record Expungement Procedures: A prison sentence should not be a perpetual punishment. Having an automatic mechanism for criminal record expungement that takes into account the offense type and length of time since sentencing would, in the near term, help formerly incarcerated people succeed and would, in the long term, promote public safety. 

Marijuana Expungements

The Issue:

The war on drugs has been a total failure and only served to incarcerate hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown people for just trying to survive. Fast forward to December 2018, recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan  and as a result, almost a quarter of a million Michigan residents now need clearance of their minor marijuana convictions. There was no clear path to decriminalize people who have been impacted by Michigan’s criminal justice system when it comes to minor marijuana convictions because our state government is not equipped with the proper technology and tools to implement automatic record clearance on a large scale. 

Shri’s Solution:

Automatically clearing people’s records to wipe out the collateral consequences of having a criminal record including loss of earning power and personal productivity. Under my new law, people will be eligible to have their records fully expunged, using “Clear My Record technology, which means marijuana convictions won’t pop up in  routine background checks or in law enforcement databases. 

Automatic Expungements in Michigan

The Issue:

1 in 3 people in America have a criminal record that shows up in a routine background check. That means that 70 to 100 million people are adversely impacted  and thousands of people right here in Michigan can’t get jobs, student loans, public housing and face a long list of other barriers that prevent them from leading self-sufficient lives even though they have already paid their “debt” to society.  

Shri’s Solution:

Current proposed automatic expungement bills require a 10-year wait. Once people pay their debt to society and the obligatory five years have passed, there is no need to make people wait five years longer. 

Record clearance can be a daunting, time consuming and costly task that places a severe financial burden on returning citizens and people touched by Michigan’s criminal justice system.  

Once people qualify for an expungement under the 5-Year Rule Michigan can use new technology now available to governments across America. “The Clear My Record” program, for example,  is  a useful remedy to implement automatic record expungement  for eligible citizens seeking record clearance. It is an opt-in program that can interface with Michigan databases to easily offer people a fresh start.  

Once the State of Michigan partners with Code for America, which offers “Clear My record,” can begin processing it and can provide the required expungement paperwork to prosecutors, who will then present the cases to judges to approve en masse. Code for America will begin doing the work at no cost to Illinois taxpayers.  

Homes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) Expansion to age 25

The Issue:

HYTA was put in place in the 1960s to give young offenders between the ages of 17 and 20 an opportunity to plead guilty to their crime and successfully complete a term of supervision or incarceration. In exchange, their offense does not appear on their criminal record. 

In 2015, HYTA eligibility was expanded from a young offender’s 21st birthday until their 24th birthday, allowing 21-23-year olds to plead guilty to a HYTA offense with the consent of the prosecuting attorney. They also require that a HYTA trainee be in school, working, or actively looking for work to maintain this special status.

Shri’s Solution:

HYTA STATUS EXPANSION: Research shows that brain development varies from person to person, but most experts suggest that the brain is fully developed by age 25

The fact that our brains aren’t developed until the mid 20s means that “legal adults” (those age 18+) are allowed to make adult decisions, without fully mature brains.  Someone who is 18 may make riskier decisions than someone in their mid-20s in part due to lack of experience, but primarily due to an underdeveloped brain.

With that in mind, Shri will introduce legislation to raise the HYTA age limit to 25, offering a second chance to young offenders to have a clear record. The current HYTA law only allows special status with the consent of the prosecuting attorney. Shri’s legislative package will includes a new provision that will allow for judicial review and “veto” in cases where the prosecutor declines to provide consent for HYTA status.

shri thanedar

SHRI THANEDAR FOR STATE REP

Use Your Power. Join Our Movement.

SHRI THANEDAR FOR STATE REP

Use Your Power. Join Our Movement.