Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Virginia: Call for More Pardons

Tamara Dietrich, at has written a passionate editorial on clemency. Along the way, she notes:
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.

1 comment:

vaspouse1 said...

my daughter broke into my house and took things . she sold them for over 200.00. my husband and i pressed charges. she went to jail , paid us back, and we forgave her. she is a mother of 4 but because of all of this, she cannot find a job,also her husband pushed her duing an argument,and the court threw this up and gave her husband custody of the kids!So, i guess if you have children, and broke the law, your husband has the right to abuse you ( if you want to keep your kids! )

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