Pennsylvania Board of Pardons Updates and Expands Eligibility for “Expedited Review” Program for Pardon Applicants
Lt. Gov. Austin Davis Is Working to Streamline Pardons Process, Help Second Chances Come Sooner
July 25, 2023
HARRISBURG – In his role as Chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis is spearheading changes to the pardon application process that will make it more streamlined, allowing second chances to come sooner for applicants who have turned their lives around.
“No matter what you look like or where you live, most of us believe that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should be a place for second chances,” said Davis. “As Chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, we are taking steps to ensure Pennsylvanians who have worked hard to change their lives and reintegrate into society can have that second chance and move forward in a positive direction. These updates to the expedited review program will expand eligibility for the program to more applicants and make the process more streamlined, allowing the Board to process more applications more efficiently and provide applicants with a clear and transparent process to follow.”
During the Wolf Administration, the Board of Pardons created an expedited review program for non-violent marijuana-specific convictions. The updated expedited review process expands eligibility to applicants with other kinds of non-violent offenses on their record. As part of the expanded program, the Board’s staff will review those applications that have already been filed and move those that qualify to the expedited program if that will help speed up the process for those applicants.
As detailed in the criteria for eligibility for the expedited review process, this process is designed “to identify potentially meritorious candidates who demonstrate minimal criminal history and a consistent period of law-abiding behavior, and who otherwise present a low risk of re-offending and/or danger to the community, such that their applications may be expedited through the normal investigative and review process.”
During the April merit review hearings, the Board considered 377 pardon applications, and during the July hearings, the Board considered nearly 300.