Amid Lock-’em-Up Frenzy, Is There Room For Second Chances?


The Dayton Daily News reports on the politically thorny issue of prisoner pardons and ponders whether Ohioans are willing to give ex-cons second chances in an era that seems more attuned to retribution than redemption. Gov. Ted Strickland, a former prison psychologist, granted 78 pardons in November. Another 218 requests for clemency were denied and more than 400 new requests are pending. Strickland said the public doesn't seem as willing these days to forgive and give people a clean slate.

Attorney David Singleton, who runs a legal clinic for ex-cons in Cincinnati, said determination is the key to turning a life around. “I think those that rise above it have a willpower and a determination that most of us don't have,” he said. “They return from prison with all the baggage they took there in the first place,” said U.S. District Court Judge Walter H. Rice. “And they add to that baggage when the come home the stigma of having served a prison sentence.” Rice, a federal judge for 40 years, said it's important to reward people who have earned a second chance. “Redemption or rehabilitation – whatever you want to call it – the older I get, the more I believe in it.”

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