MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Campaign for Smart Justice with ACLU of Alabama has uncovered an unacceptable drop in pardons granted to Alabamians. In a newly published report, the ACLU reveals pardons have fallen by more than 50 percent since 2019. The current board, led by former prosecutor Leigh Gwathney, has denied almost 80 percent of pardon applications in fiscal year 2021.  

A pardon is the only available mechanism a person can pursue to restore their civil and voting rights after serving a criminal sentence. The ACLU report points to a lack of accountability and transparency surrounding this sudden decline in pardons.  

“This board is engaged in denying record numbers of incarcerated Alabamians release from prison through parole, and now we see them applying the same categorical denials to citizens seeking a pardon,” said JaTaune Bosby, executive director of ACLU of Alabama.  

“It is unconscionable to block the restoration of civil rights to deserving citizens after they have paid their debt to society. Denying pardons prevents people from voting, and in many cases from seeking better employment or housing. We strongly condemn the recent actions by the board and encourage Alabama leaders to address this unfolding crisis.”  

Read the full report here: