Newsletter Vol 2 No 1
January 2020
Barristers, Bebashi Take to the Airways on Pardons
On Tuesday, January 7, 2020, several members of Pardon Hub program were interviewed at iHeart radio, including David C. Williams, President of the Barristers' Association of Philadelphia and Co-Chairs of the Pardon Hub, David Pennant III and Joseph Mitchell III as well as Gary J. Bell, Executive Director of Bebashi-Transition to Hope , one of the Hub sites. Two interviews (at WDAS and Power 99) took place that day, one with the renowned Patti Jackson and the other with veteran public affairs professional, Loraine Ballard Morrill. Both interviews received widespread coverage, resulting in 18 new program participants who enrolled in a Jan. 14 pardon event. A total of 23 participants eventually attended, with new inquiries coming in almost daily.

Pardon Workshops are taught every month on Wednesday evenings by the Barristers and twice a month by Wayne Jacobs. For dates and locations, visit our calendar . The workshops are free and open to the public, no registration is required!
Thank you, Senator Vincent Hughes!
Vincent Hughes has long been a champion for Pennsylvanians deserving a second chance, and earlier this month he delivered for PLSE: thanks to his help, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development just awarded PLSE $75,000 to create 15 new Pardon Hubs! A Pardon Hub is a community non-profit where residents can go to get literature and help from employees who have been trained in how to help others apply for a pardon.
“There’s no doubt that criminal histories are keeping people and their families in poverty, even after they have earned a fresh start,” said the Senator. “All of us benefit when each of us has the opportunity to work with dignity, pay their bills, and take care of their families. PLSE is doing great work in showing neighborhoods how they can help themselves and become solutions for this critical problem.

A full copy of the press release announcing the DCED grant can be found here .
Pardon Project Video Library is Live!
PLSE estimates that there are 100,000 low-income Philadelphians who have turned their lives around and deserve consideration for a pardon. How can we reach them? Thanks to funding from the Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation, PLSE has recorded interviews with people who have gone through the pardon application process, and were willing to provide peer-to-peer coaching.
Pardon Board Secretary Flood
being interviewed for the video project
The first five videos are now on the PLSE website.    “Video is a very effective way to reach people, wherever in Pennsylvania they live,” said Board of Pardons Secretary Brandon Flood, who himself received a pardon and appears in the videos. “We thank PLSE for its creativity and helping us get the word out.” PLSE is planning to hold a second filming day in the spring. If you have received a pardon, or have applied for one, and are willing to share your experience with others, contact us !
Two Beasley Law Students Join PLSE for the Spring Term
The only possible way PLSE can file 3,000 expungement petitions per year with just two staff attorneys is by relying on law students for help. That’s why we are so happy to welcome our Spring 2020 law student interns, Elizabeth O’Connell and Araesia King!

Elizabeth is a third-year student at Temple University’s Beasley School Law who comes to us with professional experience as a legal assistant for Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, and an internship with the Governor’s Office of General Counsel. Araesia is in her second year at Temple Law and has interned in the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice in Washington and with the Education Law Center here in Philly. In addition to working on petitions, the students will be helping with intakes, attending court with PLSE attorneys, and observing pardon hearings in Harrisburg.

If you are or know a law student interested in opportunities with PLSE, we are now accepting applications for summer internship positions! Interested students should email us a cover letter and resume.
Point Breeze CDC Leads the Way Statewide in Creating the First
Pardon Hub Community 
On January 16, the Renaissance Redeemer Community Development Corporation (RRCDC) hosted a Community Neighborhood Investment Collaborative – a summit of community leaders – to discuss how non-profits and communities of faith could help those with criminal convictions apply for pardons. At the summit, RRCDC’s longtime Executive Director Gertrude Teat (pictured at the podium) unveiled the first draft of a strategic plan where smaller organizations serve as “community outreach pardon hubs” and larger ones help them keep track of clients and applications, and provide more in-depth assistance as “administrative pardon hubs”.
Garrett O’Dwyer, Health Programs & Special Projects Manager for the Philadelphia Association of CDCs ( PACDC ), attended and was impressed. “This is a key issue which CDCs and other neighborhood-based groups are well positioned to play a role in addressing," he said. “The speakers today made it obvious how important this is to the financial and social well-being of individuals, and therefore to the well-being of neighborhoods overall - and how simple and straightforward the process can be. I am sure PACDC will want to share this exciting development with our members across Philadelphia.” If your organization – CDC, non-profit, church/mosque/synagogue – would like to learn about becoming a Pardon Hub, contact us !
This Month's Pardon Tip:
Don’t Wait! File your pardon application ASAP!
The current Board of Pardons has been recommending that the Governor approve two-thirds of the pardon applications that are filed!

It takes approximately two years from the time you file your application to when you’ll get a hearing before the Board. Two members of the Pardons Board – the Lt. Governor and the Attorney General – may run for different offices, so they may not be on the Board three years from now. Gov. Wolf has been granting over 95% of all pardon recommendations he’s received, and he stops being governor on January 17, 2023.  You can always file changes to your application and submit additional materials.  So do NOT wait ANY longer! Get your application completed and filed ASAP.   

Click here to watch a video where people who have been through the process – including the current Secretary of the Board of Pardons – talk about how a pardon can change your life.
Attend a Pardon Workshop to get free information and insights about how to complete the form and tell the best story you can.
Three ways you can help:

  1. Connect us with a local community organization or CDC that could become a pardon hub.
  2. Be trained as a Pardon Coach! Anyone and everyone can help, right in your own neighborhood! Email us for the next training program.
  3. Contribute via PayPal, United Way (Donor Choice # 54185), or check!

Want to do more or learn more about the work we do? Write us at or call at 267-519-5323.

Katherine Zuk
Director of Communications & Outreach
Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity

1501 Cherry Street Philadelphia, PA 19102
(267) 519-5323