Scrubbing the past to give those with a criminal record a second chance

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin has announced the Pardons for Progress initiative to assist in removing barriers to employment opportunities for individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Pardons for Progress will allow individuals previously convicted in the City of Birmingham Municipal Court of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Second Degree, (Class A misdemeanor) to apply for a pardon.

WATCH: MAYOR RANDALL WOODFIN HOLDS A PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE A NEW INITIATIVE

Pardons for Progress applies to cases from Birmingham Municipal Court only.

A marijuana possession conviction can appear on an individual’s background check when seeking employment. In some cases, such a conviction eliminates the opportunity for employment.

Pardons for Progress is an initiative to provide a pardon for an individual who has a case closed by the Birmingham Municipal Court after the individual has completed all of the requirements due to their conviction.

The pardon of a marijuana conviction removes a barrier to employment that may exist due to that conviction.

The initiative provides a multi-step application process.

Applicants may go to www.birminghamal.gov/pardons to review and print a one-page application for a pardon. In addition, a copy of a government-issued photo ID (driver’s license or non-driver’s license) must be included.

An individual may submit the completed application (including the copy of the photo ID) by mailing the application packet to:

Pardons for Progress

Office of the Mayor 710 20thStreet North Birmingham, AL. 35203

Upon receiving the application packet, a background check will be conducted through the Birmingham Municipal Court. Once the background check is completed, the application will be submitted to the Mayor’s Office, where a five-member Pardons Advisory Council will review the application.

The advisory council will submit a recommendation to the mayor.

If the application is approved by the mayor, notification of approval will be sent to the Office of the City Attorney.

The approval list of pardons will be forwarded to the president of the Birmingham City Council for transparency, pursuant to Alabama law.

The Office of the Mayor will either issue a Certificate of Pardon to the individual or notify the individual that the application has been denied.

The process of evaluating an application will take a minimum of six weeks.

Pardons for Progress only addresses a prior conviction of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Second Degree (Class A misdemeanor). If there is a conviction of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Class A misdemeanor) connected to the marijuana possession conviction, it will also be considered. Through the initiative, only one pardon may be provided for an individual. Multiple marijuana convictions by the same individual will not be considered.

In addition, a pardon in a City of Birmingham case does not change the status of convictions in federal or state courts, nor does it change the status in another municipality’s jurisdiction.

Information and the application for Pardons for Progress can be found at www.birminghamal.gov/pardons.


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