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Lt. Governor Stack spearheads “Pathways to Pardons” program

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CARLISLE, Pa. - As another round of hearings before the Board of Pardons is scheduled for later this week, state officials Tuesday provided information to dozens of other people who are looking into applying for a pardon or a commutation of sentence.

The "Pathways to Pardons" program is meant to help those who have minor criminal offenses in their background receive a pardon in order to become fully functioning members of society.

"They can't be involved in their families' lives, with church activities, at sports [or] other things," said Lt. Governor Mike Stack. "They can't volunteer at school; they can't get housing [or] student aid."

There may be more people than you think looking into applying for a pardon.

"When I go door to door in the community, that's one of the top five things people talk to me about: 'I want to get that job as a nurse or want to coach Little League, but I've got this thing on my record,'" said Carlisle Mayor Timothy Scott.

The pardon process used to take about three years, but recent pardons have been issued in as little as 18 months, officials said.

"It's very important that individuals know they can apply for clemency and it will be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, and if it is meritorious it can get recommended to the governor," said Steven Burk, secretary for the Board of Pardons.

There have been fewer pardons and commutations issued in the last few decades, and Lt. Gov. Stack says that needs to change.

"Some people might sit there and say, 'You guys are being soft on crime on the Board of Pardons," he said. "Well, I like to think more we're not being soft on crime. We're being strong on justice."

Click here for more information on the pardon process in Pennsylvania.