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December 14, 2019

Terrific new editorial about Ohio Gov DeWine's terrific new "Expedited Pardon Project"

Because I am directly involved in Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's exciting new "Expedited Pardon Project," I had an inkling I would like this new Columbus Dispatch editorial when I saw the headline "For those deserving pardons, relief is better sooner than later."  Wonderfully, not only does the editorial rightly praise Gov DeWine for his vision and leadership, it also captures in a few paragraphs why this new program is so valuable for everyone involved.  I recommend the editorial in full, and here are excerpts:

We welcome a movement in Ohio to make the criminal justice system more compassionate and pragmatic, and the Expedited Pardon Project recently announced by Gov. Mike DeWine is another positive development.  The goal is to make it easier and much faster for nonviolent former felons who have stayed out of trouble for at least a decade to receive formal pardons.

It’s not just a matter of pride; a felony conviction is a shackle that can keep people from reaching a good job, safe housing, an education loan or any number of things that could make the difference between getting ahead and giving up....

DeWine’s idea is to enlist the help of law students and educators at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and the University of Akron School of Law to vet applications and zero in on those who do have a chance: those who have committed no further crimes for at least 10 years; have paid any court-ordered fines and restitution; are working or have a good reason not to be; and have done volunteer or community service work. Those whose applications meet the criteria are expected to get a hearing before the parole board within six months.

The law schools deserve thanks for lending much-needed manpower to such a worthy cause, but they also are likely to benefit. Delving into those applications should give students and seasoned lawyers alike a better understanding of how the criminal justice system affects the lives of the human beings caught up in it.  That can’t help but make for more-enlightened lawyers and judges down the road, and that benefits everyone....

Punishment for a single nonviolent criminal episode should end when the prison sentence ends. Society has nothing to lose and much to gain by helping reclaim lives.

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December 14, 2019 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

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