GOT A RECORD? KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
The State Bar of Michigan and Justice Initiatives are your source for relevant, current information on civil legal issues facing people with criminal records.
Helping ex-convicts navigate obstacles they may face as they make the transition from prison to the general population is the focus of a website recently launched by Legal Aid of Western Michigan’s Reentry Law Project (RLP) and the Michigan Poverty Law Project.
The Michigan Reentry Law Wiki http://reentry.mplp.org/wiki provides visitors with answers to frequently asked questions, current case law, statutes, trends regarding prisoner reentry, and downloadable forms for everything from obtaining a state identification card to expunging criminal records. It also contains a wealth of information to help lawyers, judges, social service providers, and others involved in the re-entry process.
The wiki format allows collaborators to easily update information on the site. The RLP and the Michigan Poverty Law Program spearheaded the site’s implementation and design, with financing provided by the Michigan State Bar Foundation: the Grand Rapids Community Foundation; the Open Society Institute; and the Justice, Equality, Human Dignity, and Tolerance Foundation.
The State bar’s Criminal Issues Initiative (CII) also assisted with the website’s development. CII operates under the Bar’s umbrella volunteer committee, Justice Initiatives, which as assumed the challenge of meeting the many needs that arise from the interconnection of civil and criminal issues.
For more information on the Michigan Reentry Law Wiki, contact Judy Hershkowitz at 1-800-968-1442 ext. 6335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two brochures outlining a person’s rights regarding immigration and employment after a criminal conviction may be downloaded in PDF format from the State Bar of Michigan website at http://www.michbar.org/programs/criminalissues.cfm. Additionally, a client questionnaire is available for attorneys to use during the initial client intake process.
IMMIGRATION: Depending on your immigration status, your age, how long you have been in the U.S., how you entered the U.S., if you have a spouse or children who are U.S. citizens, and the nature of the conviction, you may or may not be deported.
EMPLOYMENT: Having a criminal record can make it hard to get a job, even if it has been years since your offense. Many employers ask about criminal records, and refuse to hire people who have them. In addition, some jobs are off-limits to people with certain convictions. To get and keep a job, you need to know what is on your criminal record.
CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE: An intake tool for attorneys who are representing defendants in criminal cases. The questionnaire is designed to assist attorneys in avoiding unintended civil consequences or future legal actions for the client.