PLSE Intro to Pardon Workshop, Bebashi - Transition to Hope, Thursday, 20. June 2019

Are you being held back by an old Pennsylvania conviction that is preventing you from accessing employment, housing, education or other opportunities? Now may be the time for you to consider applying for a pardon.
In honor of Reentry Month, Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) is holding an introductory pardon workshop to provide information on Pennsylvania’s pardon process. Participants will be introduced to the pardon application and given an overview of the full process. We will review eligibility and criteria for a strong application along with tips on how to navigate each step.
If a pardon is not right for you at this time, we will also review other methods of clearing your criminal record and provide tips on how to move forward with your life in the meantime. Participants will also learn about creation, dissemination and destruction of criminal records in general and their rights when it comes to the use of their criminal records. There will be time for a Q&A at the end. Due to limited space, we have capped event registration at 40 participants.

What is a pardon?
A pardon is a process by which an entire criminal record -- including convictions and non-conviction information -- can be cleared. The process can take a few years, beginning with submitting an application and ending with a hearing before the Board of Pardons. It may seem intense, but ultimately you are asking the State of Pennsylvania (namely the Governor) for forgiveness of your past. When the process is finished,if you are approved for a pardon, you can then file a full expungement of your criminal record. 
What is an expungement?
An expungement refers to the destruction of a criminal record. Different pieces of a criminal record are eligible for expungement at different times. For example, all non-conviction information (i.e., withdrawn, dismissed, nolle prossed, ARD, etc.) is automatically eligible. It does not matter if it was a misdemeanor or felony. Conviction information becomes eligible if: 1) you are 70 years old or older and 10 years arrest and conviction free; 2) the conviction was a summary and you have a period of five years arrest and conviction-free, 3) you have been dead for three years; or 4) you have been granted a pardon.
What is record sealing/Clean Slate?
Record sealing is much more limited than an expungement. Essentially, your record is hidden from public view (employers, landlords, etc.) but it still exists. The only people who can see your record are criminal justice agencies, including the the Philadelphia Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Courts, and FBI. The eligibility is complicated: it only applies to certain misdemeanors and you must have been arrest and conviction-free for 10 years. Your case can be reviewed by attorneys at Community Legal Services (CLS) here: . We will not be discussing record sealing or Clean Slate at this event.
What is the eligibility for a pardon?
There are no strict guidelines about who can apply, but the Board of Pardons is looking for the following: 1) at least five years since your last conviction; 2) that you take responsibility for your conviction; 3) how you have changed since your last conviction; and 4) how a pardon will help you move forward. Please bear in mind that there isn’t a hard and fast rule for what amount of time a person should wait after conviction, and it depends on the nature of the offense, the amount of time they have been off supervision (probation/parole), as well as the nature of the supervision or jail time served. Everyone’s case is different, and individual circumstances are also different. We will give general information, and you can use that information to determine if now is the right time for you.
How much does a pardon cost?
The application is free! It used to cost $8 to downloand and $25 to file, but as of last month, the Board of Pardons made it free to all applicants. You can view and download the application here: 
Is this pardon workshop right for me?
If you have a conviction in Pennsylvania that is holding you back and want to learn what your options are for clearing your record, then yes! There is no restriction on who can come.
What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Bebashi: Transition to Hope is located at 1235 Spring Garden Street, near Broad St & Spring Garden St. If using public transit, the nearest stop is the Spring Garden Station on the Broad Street Line. For those driving, there is only street parking.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
If you have any questions about the event, please email or call 267-519-5323.

PLSE Intro to Pardon Workshop

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