A criminal conviction in Connecticut carries consequences that can last for years. For young people, a felony or misdemeanor charge could impact employment in some positions, and it could affect the availability of federal grants for colleges.

In certain situations, a person can apply for pardons under Connecticut law.

Types of pardons

The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles grants two types of pardons: an Absolute Pardon and a Certificate of Employability. An Absolute Pardon (also called an expungement or erasure) has the ability to wipe a person’s criminal record clean. A few requirements apply. To be eligible, an individual convicted of a misdemeanor must wait three years, while a person convicted of a felony must wait five years. The applicant can also not have any open or pending charges in any other court jurisdiction.

A Certificate of Employability is only for employment and licensing purposes. It does not expunge a person’s criminal record. This document makes it illegal for an employer to deny employment solely on the basis of a person’s criminal record.

Rate of pardons

The Research and Development Division of the Board of Pardons and Paroles keeps track of pardon activity in Connecticut. From 2016 to 2019, the number of pardon applications received hovered between 1,506 to 1,857. The Board deemed half or more of these applications as valid each year. The percentage of applications granted rose every year during this four-year period, ending with a grant rate of 82% in 2019.

A look at the statistics also reveals that only a small percentage of pardon applications require a full hearing. In 2017, Connecticut began to process expedited pardons, a type of Absolute Pardon available to nonviolent offenders.