Here is another article about things going on around Rochester.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that he would be granting “conditional pardons” to thousands of New Yorkers who received convictions for minor crimes during their teenage years.According to Press Connects, the pardon would apply to individuals who were convicted of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony crime which they committed at age 16 or 17. These individuals must have “stayed out of trouble” for at least 10 years after the conviction and must be paying their income taxes. If an individual receives the pardon but commits another crime in the future, the pardon would be revoked.

The goal of the mass pardon isn’t so much about reducing the financial burden on New York State jails, but it could very well boost the state’s overall economy. As the Democrat and Chronicle explained, the pardon would ideally “erase some of the stigma” that accompanies a criminal conviction.

Specifically, the pardon would boost a person’s chances of getting a job and leading a productive life as an adult. Although the pardoned individual would still be required to disclose their conviction on a job application, they would be able to show a certificate to prove that the crime was pardoned.

“What we ultimately did,” Cuomo said in a statement, “was give a life sentence of stigmatization to kids who made a mistake, and drive more people towards crime, because society told them for the rest of their lives that that’s what they were — criminals.”

In many criminal cases, defendants accept that label simply because they can’t afford to go to court. Unlike civil lawsuits, which are settled outside of the courtroom 95% of the time often to avoid court fees, individuals charged with a criminal act must choose between an expensive trial in the courtroom or a simple conviction with a few years of jail time.

For many young people in Rochester, where a high percentage of people are living below the federal poverty line, there isn’t much of a choice. If the pardon is successful, it might give countless residents the chance to shake off the stigma of a teenage mistake.