For 10 Californians convicted of drug offenses and other low-level crimes, Friday brought news of a second chance.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he had granted 10 pardons, according to a statement by his office.
Most of the people pardoned were convicted from the late 1980s to early 2000s, according to Friday’s announcement. One was convicted in 1973.
Their crimes included marijuana and cocaine possession, first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery, the announcement stated.
“The governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation and increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry,” according to Friday’s statement. “A pardon may also remove unjust collateral consequences of conviction, such as deportation and permanent family separation.”
Pardons don’t forgive someone of committing a crime or minimize the harm caused, Newsom’s office said. Instead, they recognize each person’s progress and rehabilitation since the time they were convicted.
In some cases, pardons have been issued as kind of a remedy for prior injustices, or in recognition of a changing legal landscape.
Newsom, in a high-profile case last month, posthumously pardoned Laura Miner, a healthcare provider who was convicted of providing abortions to women in 1949 when it was still a crime in California.
Miner spent 19 months in prison after she was found guilty of numerous counts of abortion and conspiracy to commit abortion.
“In California, we’re never going back to a time when women were forced to seek basic healthcare in backrooms and underground clinics,” Newsom said in November. “Laura Miner’s story is a powerful reminder of the generations of people who fought for reproductive freedom in this country, and the risks that so many Americans now face in a post-Roe world.”
And in July, the governor pardoned Sara Kruzan, whose murder conviction at 17 for killing a man who sexually trafficked her became a symbol of a flawed justice system.
Newsom has granted 140 pardons, 123 commutations and 35 reprieves while in office, according to Friday’s statement.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.