Pardons for Progress initiative relaunched in Birmingham

Birmingham ordinance

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The City of Birmingham said more than 15,000 people could be pardoned as part of the Pardons for Progress initiative involving misdemeanor marijuana possession.

The city of Birmingham initially unveiled the initiative in 2019. The program is aimed at helping people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession when it comes to finding jobs.

Mayor Randall Woodfin said the program involves closed marijuana possession convictions in the city between 1990 and 2020. This will pardon more than 15,000 people simultaneously.

Pardons for Progress only addresses a prior closed conviction of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Degree (Class A misdemeanor) in Birmingham Municipal Court during this 30-year time frame.

Pardons for Progress is for closed cases only. Open cases must be resolved in court and will not be considered.

A statement from Mayor Randall Woodfin: Many of you may know of our Pardons for Progress program, where residents...

Posted by City of Birmingham Government on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Here is the full statement from Mayor Woodfin:

Many of you may know of our Pardons for Progress program, where residents previously convicted of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana during the past 20 years can apply for a pardon.

Today, I’m so happy to announce blanket pardons for those with closed marijuana possession convictions in the city between 1990 and 2020. This will pardon more than 15,000 individuals simultaneously.

For clarity, Pardons for Progress only addresses a prior closed conviction of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Degree (Class A misdemeanor) in Birmingham Municipal Court.

Pardons for Progress is for closed cases only. Open cases must be resolved in court and will not be considered. Neither does this consider potential future cases.

Here’s why we’re doing this – no one should be held up by a single past mistake. No one should be denied job opportunities or freedoms due to missteps from the past.

No longer will these residents be bound to their past. They deserve a chance to be part of our work force, to provide for their families and to achieve success on their own.

That new life starts rights here, today, with forgiveness and redemption.

No action is needed by the individual for this blanket pardon.

This pardon addresses the closed conviction only and not any associated fees, fines or costs connected to the case.

Applicants may go here 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.

Stephanie Hicks with Restorative Strategies works closely with people who are convicted of crimes to try and get them back on track with jobs. She applauds the city for working to give people a second chance.

“I recognize that this is a huge move for them and I really appreciate them taking that chance not so much as trying to change Alabama but at least trying to make a difference in Birmingham.”

Hicks hopes this move will make the city a more re-entry friendly city when it comes to businesses giving people second chances.

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 20th Street North

Birmingham, AL. 35203

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

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