The Lead

Outgoing Gov. Wolf sets clemency record, granting 2,540 pardons

By: - January 13, 2023 1:25 pm

From left: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Gov. Tom Wolf, and Pardons Sec. Brandon Flood (Capital-Star photo).

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is set to end his term in office next week, issued more pardons than any previous governor in Pennsylvania history, his administration confirmed this week. 

Wolf issued 2,540 pardons in his eight-year tenure, surpassing the previous record of 1,122 granted pardons held by former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.

“I have taken this process very seriously — reviewing and giving careful thought to each and every one of these 2,540 pardons and the lives they will impact. Every single one of the Pennsylvanians who made it through the process truly deserves their second chance, and it’s been my honor to grant it,” Wolf said in a statement. 

The administration said that 395 of the 2,540 pardons granted were part of an expedited review program, authorized by then-Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and the state Board of Pardon in 2019, to speed up the clemency application process for people with nonviolent marijuana possession or paraphernalia convictions. 

Another 232 pardons were granted by Wolf as part of the PA Marijuana Pardon Program, a one-time program to pardon those with “minor marijuana convictions.”

“A record prevents positive forward motion in a person’s life, and can spark a repetitive cycle of defeat,” Wolf said. “I firmly believe that with restored rights, pardoned Pennsylvanians prove themselves by stepping up and giving back to our communities.”

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.