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April 2024: Second Chance Month

WHEREAS, every person is endowed with human dignity and value; and,

WHEREAS, redemption and second chances are American values; and,

WHEREAS, an estimated 70 million Americans have a criminal record, with around 33,000 individuals incarcerated and over 50,000 individuals on probation and parole in Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, individuals returning from prison and those who have paid their debt after committing a crime face significant barriers, also known as collateral consequences; and,

WHEREAS, these significant barriers include the inability to find housing, employment, or education, volunteer in their community, and pay for significant debt that arises as a result of their conviction and incarceration; and,

WHEREAS, these barriers can contribute to recidivism, which increases victimization and decreases public safety. This can also result in lost human capital and lost economic output for the United States and the state of Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, I signed bipartisan Clean Slate bills, working closely with Republicans and Democrats to make hundreds of thousands of Michiganders eligible for records expungement, expanding their opportunities for jobs and housing, and giving them a true second chance; and,

WHEREAS, the designation of April as Second Chance Month would contribute to increased public awareness about these issues, the need for closure for those who have paid their debt, and opportunities for individuals, employers, congregations, and communities to extend second chances;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 2024 as Second Chance Month in Michigan.