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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today that he has granted another 71 pardons, bringing the governor’s total number of granted pardons to 263 pardons since the Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board was announced in 2019. With today’s announcement, the governor is on target to pardon more people in his first term than any governor in contemporary history. The Board heard from applicants virtually in May, June, July, and August, and applicants the Board recommended for pardon were forwarded to Gov. Evers for final consideration. Information about each of the 71 recipients is available here

“Hearing from any one of our pardon recipients you’ll hear stories of redemption, service to others, and hope for the future,” said Gov. Evers. “As I said when I reinstated the pardon board, I believe in forgiveness and the power of redemption, and I believe the people of Wisconsin do, too. So, I am glad to announce today that with this latest group of 71 pardon recipients, our total number of pardons is now 263 and counting.”

In addition to granting 71 pardons over the past four months, the governor signed today Executive Order #130, making changes to the pardon process. 

Executive Order #130 creates a new, expedited process for applications that meet stricter criteria. Under the new process, the chair of the Pardon Advisory Board may send an application directly to the governor without a board hearing if the applicant committed only a non-violent offense and sufficient time has passed since the conviction. All other applications will be heard by the Pardon Advisory Board. Executive Order #130 is available here.

Additionally, a new application is being issued which expands pardon eligibility to ensure individuals who have completed all their sentences after five years have passed. Previously, individuals could only be pardoned for their most recent felony. 

“After nine years of the board sitting dormant, there are a lot of people out there looking and hoping for their second chance,” said Gov. Evers. “Throughout the two years of the Board, we have learned about some areas where we can improve the process to streamline it and help ensure we can get pardons to those who are deserving, including allowing those with low-level, nonviolent offenses to be sent directly to my desk for consideration, as well as making a correction that was preventing folks from receiving pardons not because their crimes were more serious or because they posed a greater risk to the community, but due to the timing of their convictions and sentencing.”

The Wisconsin Constitution grants the governor the power to pardon individuals convicted of a crime. A pardon is an official act of forgiveness that restores some of the rights that are lost when someone is convicted of a felony, including the right to serve on a jury, hold public office, and hold certain professional licenses. A pardon does not result in an expungement.

Under Executive Orders 30 and 130, individuals convicted of a Wisconsin felony may apply for a pardon if they completed their sentence at least five years ago and have no pending criminal charges or cases. Individuals currently required to register on the sex offender registry are ineligible for a pardon.

The updated pardon application, instructions, and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the pardon process are located on the Governor’s website: www.evers.wi.gov/Pages/pardon-information.aspx. There is no deadline to apply for a pardon. Individuals may receive free assistance in completing a pardon application by contacting Legal Action of Wisconsin or the Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic.

The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board will continue to meet virtually monthly and will be reconvening again on September 10, 2021. That hearing will air on WisEye.Org/Live from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

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