We make it nearly impossible for [prisoners] to re-integrate. We dismiss their accomplishments post-imprisonment and rub their noses in their offenses for the remainder of their natural lives.We strip them forever of basic rights of citizenship — to vote, sit on a jury, hold public office — without rare intercession by the governor. We make it harder if not impossible to get public assistance, find a decent place to live or any number of jobs.With regard to the clemency process in Virginia, she notes:
Virginia allows three types of pardons, granted only by the governor. Like Ingleson, Mary wants a simple pardon, or official forgiveness. It doesn't erase a criminal record, but is intended to help the petitioner "advance in employment, education and self-esteem."Once the application is filed, the state could take a year to investigate its merits.Before you apply, though, you must ask for and be granted a formal restoration of rights. Another lengthy process, also granted at the sole discretion of the governor. Compare this red tape labyrinth to states that either restore most civil rights automatically upon release, or never strip them away in the first place.Dietrich says the consequences of these policies are clear. Many are in "exile" from "civil society" and it is "no wonder some of them just give up and go bad. See complete editorial here.