Economy League issues report finding pardons have major impact on neighborhood economies

Economy League issues report finding pardons have major impact on neighborhood economies

The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia’s April 2020 report finds pardons are “powerful, no-cost workforce development tools that can help uplift individuals and communities across the Commonwealth” and proposes three areas of reform.

The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia issued a report today on the impact that pardons have on the economies of low-income/high-arrest neighborhoods. Here are some highlights from the Report:

  • This study finds that pardons filed by Pennsylvania residents from 2008-2018 had an estimated impact of $16,494,815 as of December 2019.
  • Minorities are incarcerated at five times the rate of whites, and yet in 2017, persons of color fell well below the number of white pardon applicants. Increasing the number and share of minority applicants to where they mirrored those of whites would correspondingly multiply the economic impact of the pardon tool statewide.
  • The rate of pardon applications granted in high income zip codes…is 33% higher than the rate at which offenders from low income communities have had their applications granted.
  • Pardons have the potential to generate economic investment and growth in areas of the state in which formerly incarcerated individuals often live.
  • Expanding the use of pardons stands to economically improve the individual lives of those formerly incarcerated, their families, the communities in which they live, and the Commonwealth as a whole.
  • While the average annual impact of receiving a pardon by an individual in high-income communities is far higher than that of the low-income community resident ($8,494 vs. $2,557), the aggregate impact of all pardon recipients is higher –by 50%– in low-income communities than high-income communities ($1,253,956 vs. $823,918).
    This demonstrates that pardons can be a powerful economic tool in the areas of the state most in need of growth.
  • If residents of low-income, high-arrest communities received pardons at the state-wide rate from 2008-2015, earnings could have increased $440,433.57.
  • Especially in the case of low-income communities, a focus on increasing the rate at which pardons are granted to be equal with or exceed the state average has the potential to generate economic stability in communities that need it the most.
  • If the processing time were reduced by 25%, those who received pardons over the past 10 years could have generated $6.9 million in additional income.
  • While new laws that strive to implement restorative justice principles are being passed, it is important to not overlook established policies and procedures with a proven ability to improve people and communities affected by incarceration.
  • Pardons can be viewed as more than just individual acts of clemency but no-cost community reinvestment policy.
  • They [pardons] are a powerful workforce development tool that can help uplift individuals and communities across the Commonwealth.

Read the full report here. Read the full press release here.


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