Members of Governor’s Council recommend more pardons, commutations

Councilor Kennedy says criminal records could keep former inmates from staying out of prison.

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Some members of the Governor’s Council are urging Governor Baker to give convicted criminals a second chance. Councilor Terrence Kennedy told 22News that it’s difficult for convicts to get their lives back on track after they’re released from prison.

Governor Charlie Baker made a rare appearance at a Governor’s Council meeting on Wednesday. Some of the councilors asked Baker whether he plans to recommend any pardons or commutations.

According to the Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries, a pardon is an act of forgiving a petitioner for their crimes and sealing those records. A commutation reduces a person’s prison sentence or punishment.

Councilor Kennedy told 22 News the a pardon or commutation could help many former prison inmates find a job. “It’s been many, many years since they’ve been done on a regular basis,” he explained. “And they’re important because they affect people’s ability to move on with their lives. People who have earned the right to move on with their lives.”

Pardons and commutations are controversial. That’s why governors typically wait until the end of their term to make these recommendations.