RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Within the closing press launch despatched by Gov. Ralph Northam’s workplace, Virginia’s 73rd governor highlighted the variety of pardons he had given in his 4 years, in addition to how many individuals had their civil rights restored.
The numbers are immense: Northam, a Democrat, has granted pardons to greater than 1,200 Virginians, and restored civil rights to over 126,000 individuals who served their sentences and “totally paid their money owed to society.”
Of the folks he pardoned, eight served prolonged jail sentences for crimes they didn’t commit.
“Virginians are forgiving folks, who imagine in second possibilities,” Northam mentioned. “When folks make errors, and pay their money owed, they deserve the chance to return and be productive members of society. We are able to all be proud that Virginia has been capable of present hundreds of deserving folks the chance for a recent begin.”
Governors in Virginia have the authority to grant reprieves and pardons after individuals are convicted. They will additionally restore civil rights to individuals who have been convicted of a felony. The Virginians who acquired second possibilities from Northam confirmed “a dedication to rehabilitation,” the discharge mentioned.
A governor can grant easy, conditional, or absolute pardons, which don’t take away the crime from an individual’s report.
Northam has acted on virtually 4,000 pardon petitions, which undergo an intensive assessment course of. Some petitions could not obtain a choice for a number of years. Northam’s variety of actions, nonetheless, is “way more” than governors earlier than him, the discharge mentioned. He devoted extra workers and assets to the duty of reviewing the requests.
The assessment workforce launched a user-friendly web site so pardon petitions could be submitted electronically. The web site permits customers to examine the standing of pending petitions and provides help or opposition for a petition.
“This enables workers to spend much less time opening and sorting mail and extra time reviewing precise petitions,” the discharge mentioned.
Along with pardons, Northam pushed a number of reforms within the course of to revive Virginians’ rights. Northam made new eligibility standards in order that any state resident launched from incarceration would qualify to have their rights restored.
Virginia legislation at the moment strips anybody convicted of a felony of their rights to vote, serve on a jury, run for workplace, change into a public notary, and carry a firearm. Nonetheless, the Consitution of Virginia permits the governor the only real discretion to revive these civil rights, excluding the best to have a firearm.
“It has been an honor to work with a Governor who’s so dedicated to second possibilities,” mentioned Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson. “His actions will go away lasting impacts on numerous Virginians who’ve moved ahead from the errors of their previous and should be handled as full residents and neighborhood members. It’s my hope that future administrations proceed this vital work.”