MAP is proud to announce a new two-year $320,906 grant from the Legal Services Corporation’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund to expand its pro bono expungement program. MAP is one of 15 legal aid organizations across the country to be awarded a PBIF grant this year.
MAP will use this new grant to expand access to criminal record expungements for low-income people in 13 counties across south and central Michigan. Through an innovative new Legal Navigator program, non-attorney volunteers from local paralegal programs, law schools, and community groups will work with clients to address the burdensome administrative tasks necessary to apply for expungements, such as gathering court documents and obtaining fingerprints. In addition, the project will add staff capacity to work on identifying, investigating, and strategizing to overcome the legal barriers that clients face in seeking expungements in light of Michigan’s Clean Slate legislation implemented just over a year ago.
“Meeting the vast legal needs of low-income Americans is a tough job for legal aid providers with limited resources,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “Engaging pro bono attorneys and volunteers adds a powerful network that multiplies the impact of these organizations.”
“Due process under the law is a constitutional right and a fundamental American value, but unfortunately so many people in Michigan and across our country don’t have the resources to ensure those rights are recognized and protected,” said Representative Debbie Dingell. “This grant will allow Michigan Advocacy Program to continue and grow their important pro-bono work, specifically expanding access to criminal record expungement for low-income people. Everyone in the criminal justice system deserves fair representation, and this funding will help remove barriers to proper legal counsel for those who most need it.”
"MAP is thrilled to once again receive funding from LSC's Pro Bono Innovation Fund to increase our ability to provide high quality legal services to low-income people in south and central Michigan," said Ann Routt, Executive Director of MAP. "We are looking forward to growing our pro bono team and expanding the services we are able to offer to those seeking life-changing criminal record expungements."
MAP is grateful to the Legal Services Corporation for the opportunity to expand its pro bono services and provide needed services to those seeking criminal record expungements in south central Michigan.