“If we are to be a society that believes in forgiveness and second chances, then it is the next chapter in these individuals lives that will matter most,” Governor Parson said. “We are encouraged and hopeful that these individuals will take full advantage of this opportunity.”
These are the first pardons granted by Governor Parson pursuant the authority granted him by the Missouri Constitution, Article IV, Section 7. Official pardon documents have been filed with the appropriate government agencies and are being sent to the individuals.
In addition to these pardons, Governor Parson has decided to commute three prior drug offenders to house arrest. These offenders were made parole ineligible by a statute that was subsequently repealed by the Missouri General Assembly. Missouri Supreme Court case law holds that the repeal of the statute did not legally apply retroactively to these offenders.
“These offenders would not be subject to a legal bar for parole eligibility if sentenced today due to the repeal of the prior statute by the General Assembly. They have all been active participants in programming, completed numerous restorative justice hours, and demonstrated good behavior while incarcerated,” Governor Parson said.
After a home plan is approved by the Parole Board, the three offenders will serve the remainder of their prison terms under supervised house arrest. The Missouri Department of Corrections has notified the offenders receiving this commutation. Governor Parson has also decided to commute the sentence of a female drug offender.
Governor Parson has instructed his legal team to continue reviewing clemency files and intends to keep working to reduce the backlog inherited by his administration. At last report, there were 3,695 pending clemency applications.
“This is the time of year for forgiveness. There must be serious consequences for criminal behavior, but when individuals demonstrate a changed lifestyle and a commitment to abandoning the ways of their past, they should be able to redeem themselves in the eyes of the law,” Governor Parson concluded.
In the interest of privacy, the Governor’s Office will not immediately release the names of the individuals granted clemency or commutations, so that appropriate communications can be made to families, however the information will subsequently be made available.