Gov. Wolf Pardons 2,000 Pennsylvanians for New Beginnings

August 23, 2022

Governor Tom Wolf has signed more than 2,000 pardons since he first took office in 2015, and with these pardons comes a fresh start for these Pennsylvanians and their families.

“Pardoning more than 2,000 Pennsylvanians ​is one of the greatest honors of my time in office,” said Gov. Wolf. “We all deserve the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and do better tomorrow—but, oftentimes, a record prevents positive forward motion, sparking a repetitive cycle of defeat. I firmly believe that with restored rights, pardoned Pennsylvanians prove themselves by stepping up and giving back to our communities.”

Governor Wolf surpassed 2,000 pardons in August, when he granted 102 pardons, of which 26 were expedited review marijuana cases.

A pardon constitutes total forgiveness by the state for a ​criminal conviction, regardless of whether ​the  sentence included time in prison, and allows for expungement of the related criminal record. Applying for a pardon is free for individuals seeking clemency — an update made during the Wolf Administration — and the application can be downloaded online. The process does not require a lawyer.

Governor Wolf has prioritized criminal justice reform throughout his administration and thanks to his leadership, Pennsylvania is a leader in pardon reform. Since taking office, Gov. Wolf has granted 2,098 pardons, 326 of those were part of an expedited review for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. 

Under the Wolf Administration the pardons process has been modernized so that the application process is more streamlined, and application fees are now waived. In 2019, the Board of Pardons introduced and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman authorized the Expedited Review Program for NonViolent Marijuana-Related Offenses, a program to speed up the pardons’ application process for people with nonviolent marijuana possession or paraphernalia convictions.

“History has proven that the consequences of a criminal record can change the trajectory of life for generations,” added Gov. Wolf. “With clean slates and community support, we’re empowering Pennsylvanians to own success.”

A 2020 report by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia analyzing 10 years of pardons data found that pardons contributed $16.5 million to Pennsylvania’s economy over the past decade, at no cost to anyone.

Pardon applications are available at www.bop.pa.gov.

​Reforming the criminal justice system is one of Governor Wolf’s top priorities and this milestone is just one of numerous significant successful and bipartisan efforts throughout his administration. 

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