PLSE provides free legal advice and representation to low-income Philadelphia residents whose criminal records are holding them back from achieving their social and career potentials. PLSE seeks a more equitable social environment for those with criminal records through individual representation, strategic litigation, community education, research and advocacy. PLSE does this by seeking expungements in criminal court and pardons from the Governor; educating elected and community leaders; empowering and organizing under-resourced communities; and leading legislative, administrative and systemic reform.

Report: No “Public Safety Concern” in Pardons
A PLSE report examines 10 years of data. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro calls the report “valuable and important.”


Talk with us! Office Hours: You can now sign up for 20-minute phone conferences through our “Walk-In Wednesdays.” 


Now even easier! If you have been arrested in Philadelphia and want help cleaning up your record, you can start right here, right now!


Latest News from PLSE


Renee Chenault Fattah joins PLSE as new Deputy Executive Director

Lawyer, award-winning television news anchor and filmmaker Renee Chenault Fattah has joined the staff as Deputy Director, with the intention that she become Executive Director in September. Chenault Fattah joins PLSE from the SeniorLAW Center, where she has been serving as director of Pro Bono Action for Community Impact in Pennsylvania.


New PLSE Report on Racial Disparities and Second-Degree Murder in PA

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Attorney General Josh Shapiro are calling for reform after PLSE’s latest report showing Black people in Pennsylvania have been sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder at a rate 21 times higher than white people.


Stay up to date with the PLSE Newsletter

April 2021: Innovative Clinics, New Partners, Eloquent Coaches, More Honors, and Heads Up!  

Empowering our communitiess
by expanding opportunity

What We Do

Mass incarceration has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians having criminal records that hurt them, their families and neighborhoods for generations. We all should want to help our neighbors get the second chances they have earned, and we can! PLSE works to uplift communities most affected by social justice inequities by providing assistance to neighborhood organizations and individuals who feel that their criminal record is blocking them from jobs, careers, education, credit, housing and other opportunities.

Expungement Help

Criminal records are permanent unless a judge erases, or “expunges,” them – but this happens almost every day! In 2019, PLSE obtained over 3000 Court Orders for its clients, with a success rate of over 98%! PLSE’s Criminal Records Expungement Project provides free legal services to low-income individuals with criminal charges in Philadelphia County only, and helps connect to resources that can help in other places.


Pardons Help

For people not yet 70 years old, the only way to get a conviction erased from your record is by a pardon from the Governor – and thanks to reforms championed by PLSE, YOU could have better than a 50-50 chance of getting one if you’ve turned your life around! PLSE’s Pardon Project provides free information, advice and representation to qualifying individuals, and is creating a network of “Pardon Hubs” throughout Philadelphia where you can get information and help. And on this website, you can watch videos from people who have gone through the process.


Education & Training

PLSE offers trainings for volunteers and workshops about criminal records, expungements and pardons, and related issues like employment rights, voting rights, housing and credit. These trainings can be requested for community organizations and service providers. While “social distancing” has postponed most of our community events, we are putting lots of our programs on this website.


Fair Employment

PLSE’s Fair Employment Opportunities Project provides advice and representation to people who have been denied jobs or promotions or otherwise been treated unfairly at work because of their criminal records. PLSE also teaches employers what their rights and duties are, on how to avoid liability, helps employees clear their criminal records, and conducts fair employment HR reviews.



Pardons can contribute to economic development in
communities across the commonwealth



Get Help From PLSE Online!

Because of COVID-19, PLSE has temporarily suspended in-person intake clinics in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. But don’t worry: You can now start working towards getting a clean criminal record here on the PLSE website.


Questions about criminal records?

We’ve put together LOTS of information where you can find answers to most questions —

and if it’s not there, you can email us, in English or en español.



PLSE Video Library

Want to learn more about the pardon process, from people who have gone through it – including the Secretary of the Board of Pardons himself? Check out the PLSE pardon video library.


You can help, and WE NEED YOU!

Criminal records are a public health crisis: they affect individuals, families, and entire neighborhoods – and the solution is for everyone to get involved! There are many ways you can join PLSE in the fight to create a more equitable society for people who are doing their best – for themselves and their families – to put their past behind them and achieve their potentials.


The need for criminal justice reform can be seen in the news almost every day. PLSE is making a big difference when it comes to criminal records. Don’t miss out on any important updates: Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and subscribe to our newsletter – a 5-minute read once each month.



It only costs $350 to help someone expunge their criminal record, and just $500 to help them apply for a pardon — so almost everyone can help! We are supported by the United Way, the City of Philadelphia, and a growing list of supporters, but individual contributions from people make up a big chunk of our budget. And as word of our success grows, we will need to hire more paralegals to help get our clients and their petitions ready for Court. Your tax-deductible gift can make a BIG difference!



We’ve found the best way to serve our clients is to be present where they live and work – and that means partnering with local community organizations (which we call Pardon Hubs). We are also connecting with clients online whom we can send your way. In just 45 minutes, we can train you, your staff and volunteers. Check out our Events page for the next training program.



People change. Records don’t. We need help spreading the word that people with old criminal records should not be discriminated against, and that the government should be acting FAR more quickly to give MANY more people the second chances they –and our economy! – deserve. Check out our Advocacy page to see how you can help!



Thanks to ZOOM, and other technologies, it is now easier than ever to invite PLSE to join you, your community group or congregation, your co-workers or clients. We are particularly eager to connect with organizations that are working in low-income communities where so many of its members have been justice-involved and might need help clearing up their criminal records. 


Contact Us



111 S. 38th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


+1 (267) 519-5323

EMAIL (English)