People Change.

Records Can Too.

lancaster county pardon project

A pardon is total forgiveness by the state and it requires the court, prosecutors, and state police to erase your record like it never happened.

You will never have to “check the box” again!

The Pardon Project of Lancaster County

A pardon is a powerful tool for people who deserve a second chance. In Pennsylvania, the pardon process is free and more accessible than ever before. The Pardon Project of Lancaster County was created to help members of our community who were once convicted of a non-violent crime, completed their sentence, and turned their lives around – and only their past is holding them back from pursuing their potential.

If you’re someone who has a criminal record and is considering seeking a pardon, there are several benefits to doing so. Firstly, a pardon can help remove the stigma and barriers that come with having a criminal record, making it easier to find employment, housing, and education opportunities. Additionally, a pardon can provide a sense of closure and allow you to move on from your past mistakes, freeing you to pursue personal and professional growth. The potential benefits of a pardon are significant and can create a range of opportunities that may not have been available otherwise. We want to help you realize this opportunity!

If you have ever pled guilty or been convicted of a non-violent state crime in Pennsylvania and completed your sentence at least five years ago, you should consider applying for a pardon.

Records Can Too.

The Pardon Project of Lancaster County

A pardon is a powerful tool for people who deserve a second chance. In Pennsylvania, the pardon process is free and more accessible than ever before. The Pardon Project of Lancaster County was created to help members of our community who were once convicted of a non-violent crime, completed their sentence, and turned their lives around – and only their past is holding them back from pursuing their potential.

If you’re someone who has a criminal record and is considering seeking a pardon, there are several benefits to doing so. Firstly, a pardon can help remove the stigma and barriers that come with having a criminal record, making it easier to find employment, housing, and education opportunities. Additionally, a pardon can provide a sense of closure and allow you to move on from your past mistakes, freeing you to pursue personal and professional growth. The potential benefits of a pardon are significant and can create a range of opportunities that may not have been available otherwise. We want to help you realize this opportunity!

If you have ever pled guilty or been convicted of a non-violent state crime in Pennsylvania and completed your sentence at least five years ago, you should consider applying for a pardon.
lancaster county pardon project

A pardon is total forgiveness by the state and it requires the court, prosecutors, and state police to erase your record like it never happened.

You will never have to “check the box” again!

News Alert

The next set of Pardon Public Hearings (until October 8-10) will be JUNE 12-14, with sessions at 9 AM and 1 PM (30 cases per session). Each ends with a public vote (3 YES votes required to get to the Governor). The next Merit Review (2 YES votes required to get a Public Hearing) will be on JULY 1 at 9 AM. These are public. To watch, click here.

Two –

Thirds

of those who apply for a pardon in Pennsylvania actually get one!

Did You Know?

Pennsylvania is leading the nation in pardon reform! The pardon process is entirely free, a lawyer is not necessary, and over 80% of the people going before the PA Board of Pardons actually end up with a pardon! Over a ten-year period, pardons brought over $16.5 million dollars in higher wages into communities all across the state. Lancaster County deserves its fair share!

Who We Are

Lancaster was one of the first counties in the state to create its own Pardon Project With the strong support of Lisa Drendl-Miller, the Executive Director of the Lancaster Bar Association, representatives from the Bar Association, the private bar (Mark Walmer, Esq.), Mid-Penn Legal Services (attorney Michael Goldberg) and CareerLinks (Re-Entry Supervisor Christine Harrison Mahrer) met for the first time on February 22, 2021. Others soon joined the group, including attorney Lisa Wolf and attorney John Churchville (then a Professor at Lancaster Bible College and now an Assistant Public Defender). Then, in the fall of 2023, Carrie Kurtz (a Certified Trauma Informed Trainer and Director of Reentry Planning and Coordination for the Lancaster County Reentry Coalition) became aware of the Pardon Project. By October, she had interested the Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, Elizabethtown University, and State Representative Isaiah Smith-Wade-El. Meanwhile, Mary Hoskins had retired from her government post as Workforce Policy Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board (where she had been advancing pardons as a policy issue) and returned to Lancaster to be the Executive Director of Zion Community Services of PA, and was raring to go. The group got together on January 10, 2024, and then held its first Pardon Coach Training later that same day at the Chamber of Commerce. The next week, Representative Smith-Wade-El and the Reentry Coalition held a clinic at the Southern Market. Over 100 people attended! And since then, clinics have been held throughout the county. Click here for a story about the January 18 clinic. The PPLC is now jointly coordinated by Mary Hoskins and Lisa Wolf and overseen by a Steering Committee with representation from many sectors of our community.

We are part of a large and growing statewide network of Pardon Projects.

What We Do

The Pardon Project of Lancaster County has held clinics at over a dozen locations since the first clinic at the Southern Market. If you are interested, contact us using the link below! “Pardon Hubs” are locations where the staff has been trained and can answer many if not all of your questions. Our principal Hub is Zion Community Services of Pennsylvania and our leader is Mary Hoskins, MPA, Zion’s Executive Director. We also continue to have a Hub within CareerLinks of Lancaster County. We are in the process of setting up Pardon Hubs around the County.

Who We Serve

We provide help to people who reside in Lancaster County (or were convicted here), but give priority to those who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (in 2024, this mean $30,120/year for an individual, $62,400/year for a family of 4) and who have completed their sentences at least five years ago. The only cost that those over that income guideline are responsible for is the fee of getting their records from the courthouse. Eligibility is considered on a case-by-case basis. And EVERYONE can help themselves!

How Do I Find Out if I Qualify?

Complete the form below with your information and someone from our team will be reply:

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About the Pardon Project

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) has been helping low-income Philadelphians clean up their criminal records since 2011. In 2018, it started the Pardon Project to make the pardon process in Pennsylvania accessible to those without money to hire lawyers. In 2020, PLSE began helping communities outside Philadelphia form their own Pardon Projects. The Pennsylvania Association of Pardon Projects was formed the following year. Click here to read the article Pardon Projects: Communities Coming Together in Restorative Justice (PA Bar Association, Jan. 2022).
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Pennsylvania Association of Pardon Projects
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Philadelphia, PA 19102

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