By Cryss Walker

(CBS DETROIT) – Hakim Crampton knows what it’s like to return home from a long bid behind bars.

After serving a 15-year-sentence for a wrongful conviction in Wisconsin, he says the transition back to society was difficult.

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“It’s almost next to impossible for people with a criminal record to really move forward in life. Society would expect us to be able to serve our time, get out of prison and just start back over and unfortunately many, many barriers, barriers to employment, barriers to housing, barriers to affordable health care, things of that nature. So it’s extraordinarily difficult for a person with a criminal record to be able to move forward after a conviction,” said Hakim Crampton, Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.

Crampton was released in 2006 when he returned home to Michigan and rebuilt his life as an advocate for youth offenders.

In 2019 he was appointed to the Michigan indigent defense commission by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer where he worked to push for the clean slate initiative.

“You know I fought so hard to get the legislation passed and sat and met with many legislators, had many meetings. Testified before the house and the senate and when it was finally passed and signed into law by Gretchen Whitmer of course I was very, very ecstatic. A huge celebration across the state and across the country actually,” Crampton.

The Clean Slate Initiative automatically expunges misdemeanors seven years after sentencing.

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Felonies are cleared 10 years after sentencing or upon release.

There are some crimes that’s not covered by the clean slate bill but criminal reform advocates say the legislation is still a step in the right direction.

Up to three felonies can be cleared and an unlimited number of misdemeanors under certain conditions.

Assault crimes punishable by more than 10 years are denied. 

“So this was a bipartisan effort and we really want to thank the governor for signing this into law making Michigan one of the most expansive criminal reform justice states in the nation,” Crampton.

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