After 20 years, business owners thank felony removal from Project Clean Slate

Nicholas Dubose enjoyed the rest of the summer sun on Monday at Rouge Park on Detroit’s west side. The dark cloud that had followed Dubos for 20 years had disappeared, he said. That’s because Dubose got a second chance.

Earlier this year, he said the two felonies he was convicted of on low-level drug offenses had been dropped.

“It was like a burden was lifted,” Dubose said.

Those beliefs shaped his life — especially as a truck driver’s boss.

“I know that if I’m the owner and operator, I don’t have to ask anyone for a job, and that comes from a rejection mentality,” he said. “Now my company has the ability to do international trade – I couldn’t go to Canada before.”

Dubose is one of 2,400 people assisted by the City of Detroit’s Innocence Program. Mayor Mike Duggan started the work back in 2017.

This year alone, the free program cleared the criminal records of 1,000 Detroiters.

“The City of Detroit now has a team of attorneys and paralegals that specialize in elimination to help Detroiters get anything that can help them in their lives,” Shayla McElroy said.

The work has only just begun. McElroy from Project Clean Slate estimates that 168,000 Detroiters with misdemeanors and certain felonies are eligible.

“We also found that people who were removed saw a 23 per cent increase in their wages after being removed,” she said. “In addition to that, they had the opportunity to live in better housing.”

This week is National Elimination Week. Now, the team at Project Clean Slate is raising awareness.

“Everyone should have that moment to redeem themselves, they shouldn’t be relegated to the moment when they were wrong,” McElroy said.

Their goal is to help eligible Detroiters like Dubose clear their records and lift the cloud of criminal convictions.

“Our family just went to Canada about a month and a half ago,” Dubos said. “Without Project Clean Slate, this wouldn’t have happened.”

For more information Project Clean Slate Go here for a link.

Nicholas Dubose.

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