By Jenny Bront
On Tuesday at the Monroe County Emergency Management Office in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack and Senator Mario Scavello held the first Pathways to Pardons event in Monroe County.
The Pathways to Pardons initiative is a project created to help educate the public on the Pardons system we have here in Pennsylvania.
It is a collaboration of the Office of Lieutenant Governor, Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.
Lt. Governor Stack, who chairs the Board of Pardons as part of his Constitutional duties, is a big believer in second chances; therefore, he created this program to help people get their second chance.
In order to present the Pathways to Pardons (P2P) program to districts around Pennsylvania, various State Senators and Representatives must invite the Lieutenant Governor and the P2P team to their district.
With this partnership, Senator Mario Scavello has invited P2P to speak to the constituents of Monroe County.
A pardon is a mercy; it provides the basis for an expungement of someone’s criminal record.
The Board of Pardons is the body that provides the Governor the capability to grant a pardon to the individual.
Without the Board of Pardon’s approval, the Governor is not allowed to grant forgiveness.
At Tuesday’s event, the Lieutenant Governor made an appearance and spoke about how important this pursuit is.
“I believe in second chance, I believe in justice and I believe in all of you,” said the Lt. Governor.
The Pathways to Pardons presentation covers topics such as how to apply for a pardon or commutation, the new limited access order that seals your record away from prying eyes and how to get your record expunged.
Stack also mentioned new processes being implemented at Board of Pardons to speed up the three-year backlog, which before the Wolf/Stack administration was five years.
Electronic applications were perhaps the biggest change mentioned.
With a Pardon, people can apply for better employment, attend schooling for programs, such as education or nursing, that require clearances, serve on a jury, and much more.
Pardons are for people who have demonstrated that they have become law abiding citizens who have changed their lives around.
These P2P events have been held all over the state including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Norristown.
These programs also address the drug and alcohol epidemic sweeping the state because drug addiction and crime are very closely linked. This link is precisely why DDAP has gotten involved as well.
This issue is not an inner city issue; it is a human issue. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is Lt. Governor Stack’s hope that the combined efforts of everyone involved can help people get that second chance they need to create a better life for themselves and their families.
For more information about Pardons, visit the Board of Pardons website at www.BOP.pa.gov or call their Harrisburg office at 717-705-0435.
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