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Pathway to Pardons seminar comes to York City in February
People make mistakes, but they also make positive changes, said state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, who is hosting a workshop next month on how to achieve a governor’s pardon.
Hill-Evans, D-York City, along with Lt. Gov. Mike Stack and a panel of local and state experts, is hosting a free Pathways to Pardons seminar 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the Crispus Attucks community center gym, 605 S. Duke St. The event is open to the public.
Hill-Evans said she used to work as a job recruiter and often encountered situations in which job applicants had a derogatory mark on their criminal record.
“I wanted to hire a young lady, and when the background check came back, she had felony drug charges on it from when she was 18,” Hill-Evans said. “She’s now 36, a born-again Christian, mother of two, who is trying to do the right thing. But she couldn’t get a job because she has a record. She was one of many whom I wasn’t able to hire because of the background check.”
Those interactions motivated the representative to contact Stack's office after hearing about the seminar last summer.
Seminar: Pathways to Pardons provides insight on how to meet state requirements in order to be considered as an applicant for a pardon and explains how a demonstrated life change and sustained rehabilitation advances a pardon investigation.
Pathways to Pardons brings together Board of Pardons staff with experts in corrections, addiction recovery and parole officials to conduct community meetings across the state explaining the pardons process and helping potential applicants navigate the system, according to the lieutenant governor's office.
“The pardons process can be confusing and difficult,” said Stack, who became chairman of the Board of Pardons when he took office in 2015. “It became clear immediately that we needed to create something that would help folks who couldn’t afford a lawyer to get their lives back on track.”
Stack has conducted 40 Pathways to Pardons seminars in all corners of the state, which has increased the number of statewide applicants seeking a pardon, Stack's office reports.
It takes three years for an application to be approved. A convict who is pardoned — meaning total forgiveness — still has to take extra steps to have a conviction expunged from the record.
In Pennsylvania, the Board of Pardons has the power to recommend to the governor that a person be pardoned for any state conviction, whether a summary, misdemeanor or felony crime.
The granting of a pardon by the governor for a person who has committed a crime or who has been convicted of a crime is an act of clemency, which restores the person’s civil rights. Commonly lost rights include traveling abroad, the right to own a gun, jury service, employment in certain fields, public social benefits and housing and parental benefits.