Thursday, October 2, 2014

South Dakota: Sensible Reform ! Feds Take Notice !

The Rapid City Journal reports persons "guilty of a misdemeanor or petty offense that didn’t involve violence are now able to clear their record faster and more easily" because of changes made by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. More specifically, the Board (which has been facing a backlog of cases) has eliminated two steps in the process:
First, it allows certain offenders to bypass the requirements of a pre-screening by two board members, who then make a recommendation to the full board. Second, those offenders may skip a personal appearance before the full board. 
The resulting process generally takes "30 to 60 days" as opposed to "six to eight months." Pat Pardy, a lawyer for the state Department of Corrections, says the purpose of the changes is to allow people to restore their records for employment purposes, such as in financial positions, and for people whose criminal records prevent travel outside the United States, such as to Canada.

We wonder if the federal clemency process could benefit from a similar change in rules and regulations for processing applications. Almost half of the persons pardoned by President Obama, for example, committed crimes so minor that no jail time was served. Yet, on average, it has taken applicants (with and without prison sentences) over four years for applications to be reviewed and granted. Why can't the DOJ created a separate process, perhaps without so many layers of bureaucracy, for minor / non-violent offenses?

See story here.

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