Latest News from PLSE

Stay up to date with the PLSE Newsletter.

A 5-minute read delivered to your inbox every month. Philadelphia is leading the country in criminal justice reform, and PLSE is in the middle of lots of it.  Every month we offer breaking news, tips on how to make your pardon application better, and ways you can help.

Pennsylvania Bar Association (May 13, 2024)

Celebrating Fresh Starts – Record-clearing clinics, how you can help solicit funding for pardon projects, the EEOC’s guidance on employer consideration of arrest or conviction records, recent awards, and more.

The Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) a nonprofit, non-partisan organization is seeking an Executive Director. PLSE provides free legal advice and representation to low-income Pennsylvania residents whose criminal records are holding them back from achieving their social and career potentials.

PLSE Remains on the March – Recent clinics, record clearing news, featured partners, clients granted public hearings by the PA Board of Pardons, and more.

A Farewell to Winter and to Criminal Records – Recent events, pardon reform, PLSE staff spotlight, criminal and juvenile justice debt relief, Pardon Network news, and more.

Maddie Seiler, The Sentinel (February 20, 2024)

Graysen Golter, The Morning Call (February 1, 2024)

Exciting News in the New Year – Recent events, new PLSE arrivals, details on expedited reviews, the BOP hearing schedule, pardon news, and more.

Rachel Wisniewski, The Philadelphia Citizen (January 22, 2024)

Dan Nephin, Lancaster Online (January 21, 2024)

A New Year and New Beginnings – Executive Director news, recent events, a Clean Slate 3.0 update, our staff spotlight, and more.

A recap of the Justice, Food & Art fundraiser, details on Renee’s new committee appointment, record clearing clinic news, an invite to our upcoming Zoom featuring BOP Secretary Sherry Watson, client updates, partner recognition, and more!

Mike Desmond, Centre Daily Times (November 22, 2023)

Aaron Moore, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (November 13, 2023)

An impactful rule change proposed by the SBA, launch of the Philadelphia Fountain Fund, open PLSE positions, record clearing news, cause for automatic expungement advance, and more!

Rebecca Hazen, The Meadville Tribune (October 27, 2023)

Christina Baker, The Pennsylvania Capital Star (October 26, 2023)

Dan Barry, The New York Times (October 15, 2023)

Lena Tzivekis, York Daily Record (October 11, 2023)

Exciting wins in court, a special Fifth Anniversary, recognitions for some wonderful people, a virtual Town Hall to prep for Pardon Hearings, and more!

Tobey Oxholm, Director, The Pardon Project; The Washington County Observer-Reporter (September 5, 2023)

Summer Updates from PLSE – Shorter waits for pardons, automatic expungements, new university partnerships, updates from Berks County, Community Day in Francisville, and more

Andrea Lindsay, MSW, The Pennsylvania Capital-Star (August 4, 2023)

Beat the Heat with Cool News – Expedited review tracks, new pro bono partners, updates from York County, details about the Pardon Me documentary, and an exciting staff update

Renee Chenault Fattah, The Baltimore Sun (July 11, 2023)

Sliding Into Summer – Board of Pardons Public Hearings, Lessons from “Down Under”, Clinics at HopePHL Men’s Wellness Day and Tustin Recreation Center, Staff Spotlight, Pardon Project Expansions, and More

May Flowers and People Power – Promise Clinics, Pardon Tips, Activities Supporting Returning Citizens, Staff Spotlight, Pardon Project Steering Committee Activity, Championing the Elimination of Criminal Court Fees, Recent Awards, and More

PA Workforce Development Board Unanimously Adopts Two Record-Clearing Recommendations to the Governor (May 23, 2022)

Click here to read recommendation supporting codification of rebuttable presumption that convictions older than 7 years are generally not relevant to occupational licenses
Click here to read recommendation supporting enactment of statue providing immunity to employers and contractors from “negligent hiring” claims

Read President Jay Silberblatt’s April 26, 2023, letter to the PA Board of Pardons here
Read President Jay Silberblatt’s April 28, 2023, letter to the PA Supreme Court’s Criminal Procedural Rules Committee here

April Showers of Good News – Pardon Project Expansions, Staff Spotlight, Expungement Clinics, Supporting Gov. Shapiro’s FY24 Budget Increase, Recent Awards, and More

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, (April 5, 2023)

Always Springing Forward at PLSE – The Dobbs Decision Dissected, Westmoreland County Pardon Clinic, Digital Literacy Classes, and More

Black History Month at PLSE, in our City, and Beyond

Emily Leopard-Davis, AL DÍA (March 23, 2023)

New Year, Same PLSE- Ringing in the New Year with Energy!

Timothy K. Lewis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (January 13, 2023)

Thanks to our sponsors, attendees, and longtime Board Member and supporter Michael Solomonov for joining us on January 5, 2023 at Abe Fisher for an evening of cocktails, cuisine and conversation!

Click here to learn more.

Mike D’Onofrio, AXIOS Philadelphia (December 20, 2022)

Despite the darkness, We Choose Hope!

Harri Leigh, FOX43 (December 8, 2022)

Press Release (December 2, 2022)

Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians can’t find jobs because of a years-old marijuana conviction. Gov. Wolf can use his last weeks in office to issue a blanket pardon and set them free.

Op Ed, Renee Chenault Fattah, Philadelphia Inquirer (November 27, 2022)

For the press release click here.

Superheroes, Sloths, Start-ups, ‘Spongements, and More

Press Release (November 15, 2022)

Special Phillies Edition:  Our call to the bullpen, DH hero, called third K, new bench strength, farm team news, and more

Article, Philadelphia Inquirer (October 20, 2022)

Op Ed, Lawrence V. Young, Esq (York Daily Record, October 13, 2022)

Editorial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (October 10, 2022)

Listen to PLSE Director of Strategic Initiatives Andrea Lindsay and pardon client Basil Lester discuss the impact of President Biden’s marijuana pardon on a local level.
(NBC10 TV, October 7, 2022)

New Speed for Weed, Vince Delivers, DAs Partner, Wolf the GOAT, and more

Governor, Lt. Governor, Board of Pardons Announce Special 30-Day Pardon Effort For Low-Level Marijuana Convictions

September 1, 2022


Representing eleven individuals from around the state, PLSE petitions Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and Board of Pardons to pardon everyone who has been convicted of a non-violent marijuana-specific crime – of which there are tens of thousands in Pennsylvania. (July 7, 2022)

Moonshot, Road Trip, Clerks, Pages, Metrics … and MORE!

First Lady, Street Muralist, State Rep, EJW Fellow, and more!

Second Chances: Good News from around the state!

Op Ed, Hon. Thomas J. Vanaskie (Ret.) (Scranton Times-Tribune, April 17, 2022

Merle, Ron, Danea, Gordon, Celeste, Second Chances Month, and more!

Jeff Brown, Marie Antoinette, Chelsey Sirmons, and more!

GROWING FOR GOOD – PLSE’s Marijuana Amnesty Project

The Chicago Reader – February 3, 2022

Click here to read “Cannabis Conversation” with Andrea Lindsay

New Secretary, New Staff, New Form, and More News!

First Lady Frances Wolf Makes Criminal Record Clearing Her Priority For 2022

January 6, 2022

Pardon Projects: Communities Coming Together in Restorative Justice

The Pennsylvania Lawyer, Jan-Feb 2022

Readying for 2022’s bold Promise, major changes, new and renewed partnerships, and more 

Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness Follows PA Bar Assn, Urges BOP to Stop Using Unpaid Fines & Fees as an Impediment to Pardons

Read Letter, November 30, 2021

PA Bar Association Overwhelmingly Opposes Pardons Board Policy on Unpaid Court Debts

Read Recommendation adopted on November 19, 2021

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania Calls For Pardon Reforms

November 10, 2021

Read Resolution Calling For More Pardon Hearings Within One Year Of Filing

Read Resolution Calling For Immediate Recission of Board’s “Exclusionary” Fees and Costs Rule

 NEW PA Association of Pardon Projects, readings, and more!

Pardons: It’s Time to Finish the Job

The Legal Intelligencer, November 19, 2021

Berks begins Pardon Project to help those with past convictions

Reading EagleNovember 2, 2021

Green Thumb Industries Announces Inaugural Recipients of Good Green Grants

October 14, 2021

PLSE Announces New Leadership, Becomes Black-Led at Both Staff and Board Levels

September 16, 2021

If You Paid Your Debt to Society, You Should Be Allowed to Work

August 4, 2021

Read chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Company, Jamie Dimon’s, article in The New York Times.

Pa. is leading the way on pardon reformed to Work | Opinion

June 30, 2021

Read Linda Dale Hoffa’s article in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Board Leaps, Chancellor Scolds, Scranton Applauds, and more!

News both wonderful and horrible, How YOU can help, and more!

June 12, 2021
Will become Executive Director in September

Scattergood Hosts, Council Questions, PLSE Presents, and more

Pardon Coaching: Do it for Shane, and for Yourself


Read pardon volunteer Lorraine Marie Simmonis’ article in the Philadelphia Bar Reporter.



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.

Why People Are Wrong To Think That Pardons Are Only For Rich White Connected Guys And Not For Them

Tarik Ryant, Inspire Magazine

Mr. Ryant, founder of Chef Reeky’s in Delaware County and member of the Pardon Project Steering Committee, received a pardon in August 2021.

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

MontCo enlists, CHWs rock, NPR podcasts, Am Bar honors, Intake idles, and more.

BOP wows, PLSE reports, Cooney honors, BAI affiliates, 100 Coaches zoom, and more.

Life Without Parole for Second-Degree Murder In Pennsylvania:  An Objective Assessment of Sentencing

January 19, 2021
Andrea Lindsay, PLSE Lead Researcher and Mitigation Specialist

January 26, 2021
Written by Brandon Dorfman

PLSE Wins, Treasurer Downgrades, Co-Ops Shine, Pitt Law Joins, and more.

PLSE Receives 2021 Innovation Award for Human Services / Community Development 

January 21, 2021

PLSE receives top prize for making society see expungements and pardons as investments in neighborhoods and human capital. 

January 19, 2021

Cites PLSE Study in Support of National Call to Question Whether Increasing Fees and Costs Are Good for Society

January 14, 2021
To read the letter to the rating agencies, click here.

January 6, 2021
Written by Tarik Kose and Isabella Falzone

3,000+ sign petition to Gov. Wolf, Judge Karen Simmons receives Pollak award, staff attorney Taylor Pacheco moderates Philadelphia Bar Association panel, and more.

December 4, 2020

December 1, 2020
The Defense (Magazine of the PA Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers)

PLSE Video Library Featured by BOP, Pardon Project Leaps Forward in Pittsburgh, Newest Mike Lee Fellow Joins, and more.

October 19th, 2020
Written by Patrick Keough
The Legal Intelligencer

September 16, 2020

Governor Acts, Juvenile Judges Pile On, Board Excels, PLAN Partners, PLSE Reports, and more.

August 31, 2020

August 5, 2020

Governor Flunks, Board Zooms, DA Innovates, Health Experts Join, and more.

August 14, 2020
Philadelphia Bar Reporter

August 12, 2020
Pennsylvania Department of State

August 7, 2020
Two Health Care Experts Join PLSE Board, Emphasizing Criminal Records as a Public Health Crisis.

Support swells, Mayor cancels, Board speeds up, Merck and Chubb sign on, More leaders speak out, and more.

July 9, 2020
The Philadelphia Inquirer
PLSE Volunteers lead the charge in organizing to represent protesters and help them contest their violations.

June 26, 2020 Philly
While 2018’s Clean Slate Law cleared barriers to housing, education and employment for individuals across PA, it indirectly created new technological barriers for the legal nonprofit.

Jeff Brown leads, Philly DA partners, PLSE begins online intake, tips on the parole interview, and more.

May 8, 2020
PA Bar strongly urges PA Board of Pardons to stop asking about juvenile records in pardon applications.

PA Bar acts, Economy League reports, Heinz Endowments funds, and more.

May 5, 2020

Temporary reprieves, historic Bar Leadership Summit, historic Board of Pardons vote, expanded Video Library, and more.

Record-breaking year, new Mike Lee Fellow, Pardon Hubs expanding to new neighborhoods, and more.

January 29, 2020

Barristers-Bebashi partnership, Sen. Vince Hughes delivers, Point Breeze becomes first neighborhood pardon network.

Senator Vincent Hughes Obtains Community and Economic Development Funding to Create 15 New Pardon Hubs

January 21, 2020

Pardon videos, expansion into North Philly, and much more.

November 29, 2019

Giving Tuesday, new Board members, Pardon Hub news, and more.

PLSE’s new Executive Director, the expedited pardon application, and much, much more.

September 23, 2019
Written by Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III
The Legal Intelligencer

PLSE’s record breaking year, upcoming expungement clinics, new partnerships, and need-to-know tips about Clean Slate.

Historic Board of Pardons vote, PLSE gains 2 new Board members, Clearing Juvenile Records, and more.

June 24, 2019

June 12, 2019
New pardon application sets new standard for clarity and access.

New pardon application, Mike Lee Fellowship update, and new community partnerships.

April 22, 2019

April 8, 2019

January 29, 2019

January 9, 2019

December 5, 2018

November 14, 2018

October 22, 2018

October 15, 2018

September 2018
Philadelphia Bar Reporter

August 27, 2018

August 14, 2018

July 23, 2018
Written by M. Zane Johnson
The Legal Intelligencer

June 25, 2018

April 26, 2018

March 5, 2018

January 3, 2018

December 20, 2017