OPINION |Mike Hardman: Crimes Should Be Forgotten
If you do the time, should you still be paying for the crime long after you served the sentence?
In the 21st century, the answer is that you will be paying for it for the rest of your life even though your debt to society has been paid in full. With technology, potential employers can find all about your history before you even sit down from an interview. That’s wrong.
You might have committed a crime, but have done your time and judged to be allowed to return to society by the court system, but still, be paying for it in society. That’s wrong too.
Right now, the only way around is to ask for a pardon to have the crime removed from your record. But, If you are from Massachusetts, you’re out of luck. Don't ever count on President Trump to set you free. Republican presidents are far likely to issue you a pardon as opposed to Democrats. The next one that Gov. Charlie Baker gives will be his first one.
During his eight years, Barack Obama gave out 1,927 commutations and 212 pardons, second only to Harry “Let Them Free” Truman, who had a combined total of 2,044.
Pardons have been linked to political contributions and influence, leaving the question about whether presidents and governors should have the right to overturn sentences issued by the courts? The other problem is if presidents and governors issue pardons they are labeled soft on crime.
What happens is that you are allowed out of jail, but you are never truly set free. This limits the opportunities to land employment in an effort to better yourself and your family. That’s not right.
With online technology, adjustments need to be made. If you committed a crime at 20, did your time, you shouldn’t be still paying the penalty at 50.
Editor's Note: Mike Hardman is the digital media editor for WBSM. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.