Bizzarro, Harkins participate in ‘Pathways to Pardons’ event with Lt. Gov. Stack, corrections officials

ERIE, Nov. 2 – Joining forces with Lt. Gov. Mike Stack to help people learn about removing barriers after a minor criminal conviction, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro and Patrick Harkins, both D-Erie, participated in a “Pathways to Pardons” event last night at the Martin Luther King Center.

Stack, who chairs the state Board of Pardons, launched this initiative to improve Pennsylvania’s pardons process and educate ex-offenders on how to earn a second chance, by obtaining a pardon or the expungement of a past criminal conviction.

“We all make mistakes in our lives, but when we reform our lives and want to get better jobs and reach our full potential, a pardon can help,” Stack said. “It gives people a second chance to write a new chapter in their lives.”

Bizzarro said: “We heard from experts on pardons, along with representatives from the Department of Corrections, who explained how the process works and what the state Board of Pardons looks for in a successful applicant. This is valuable information to share with those who qualify and are interested in pursuing such relief.”

Harkins said: “With this program, Pennsylvania is a national leader in using innovative and forward-thinking policies designed to transform criminal justice. We are helping people understand how they can remove an impediment that can linger and adversely affect them long after they have paid for any mistake they may have made.”

State Rep. Flo Fabrizio, D-Erie, who was scheduled to participate but could not attend, later said, “The ‘Pathways to Pardons’ program brings together experts in corrections, drug and alcohol treatment, probation and parole, and public interest law to give step-by-step help to people who want to remove barriers to gainful employment by clearing a minor criminal conviction from their records.”

More than 30 such events have been held across the state in the past 18 months.