Harrisburg, PA - Lt. Gov. John Fetterman continues his mission to overhaul the clemency process in Pennsylvania, announcing today the release of a new video created to help people who are applying for pardons.
The 10-minute video includes a welcome from Fetterman, followed by a review of frequently asked questions and an explanation of the pardon application from Secretary of the Board of Pardons Brandon Flood.
Fetterman earlier this year appointed Flood as secretary, encouraging Flood to use his own pardons experience to help make the process smoother for others.
Fetterman said the video, which provides instruction and explains the application in simple terms, is one more method of removing obstacles that might stand in the way for Pennsylvanians who deserve a second chance.
A pardon is first step to expungement, through which an offense is removed from a person’s criminal record. Expungement allows people to more fully participate in their communities and in the lives of their children through, for example, volunteer work. Schools and many other organizations don’t allow people to participate in programs if they have criminal records.
“I don’t believe you should be judged on the worst mistake you may have made in your life, maybe decades ago, and this is an opportunity to free yourself from that,” Fetterman said.
The video will be featured on the Board of Pardons website, www.bop.pa, and on the pardons page of Fetterman’s new official website, www.ltgov.pa.gov/pardons.
Flood emphasized that there are currently no minimum eligibility requirements for a pardon.
“If I was able to receive a pardon, I would say that the vast majority of Pennsylvanians would be able to do the same,” Flood said.
The lieutenant governor chairs the five-person Board of Pardons, which hears cases and votes on whether to recommend the cases to Governor Tom Wolf, who makes the final decision to grant or deny clemency.
The Board of Pardons hears two types of requests for clemency: pardons and commutations. People who are not currently incarcerated are eligible for a pardon. Those who are in prison and want to request a reduction of sentence are eligible for commutation.
Fetterman has taken numerous steps to improve the clemency process in Pennsylvania, including rewriting the pardons application to make it more user-friendly and reducing the required application fee to zero dollars.
In addition to hiring Flood, who is a pardon recipient, Fetterman hired commuted former life-sentence inmates George Trudel and Naomi Blount to help inmates apply for commutation. Trudel and Blount will help to minimize the application backlog that had delayed their own cases.
At Fetterman’s direction, the pardons board is also 1) expediting review for sentence commutations for the more than 700 lifers who are age 65 or older, and 2) expediting review of pardons requests from people with nonviolent marijuana convictions.
In September, the Fetterman-led Board of Pardons sent Gov. Tom Wolf nine recommendations for sentence commutations. That’s the highest number of commutation recommendations since the early 1990s.
MEDIA CONTACT: Press Secretary Christina Kauffman - 717-712-3316
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