Pennsylvania's new secretary of pardons said Monday he wants to streamline the pardon process and push for automatic record expungement for those pardoned. Brandon Flood has first hand experience with the commonwealth's pardons system.
By 22 years old, Flood had been convicted of two felonies: one for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, and the other for having an unlicensed gun. He spent nine years in prison.
During his prison sentence, Flood, now 36 years old, said he wanted to turn his life around. After his release, he looked toward a career in Harrisburg politics. He's held positions with the state House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee, the state's Department of General Services and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
He has since been pardoned by Governor Tom Wolf.
Despite his success, Flood said there are a lot of barriers for former felons like himself, and he wants those currently or formerly incarcerated to know there's a voice for them in Harrisburg.
"In me not only do you have an advocate who intimately understands the clemency process firsthand, not only from a policy standpoint but as an applicant, you have someone who understands what it's like to bear that scarlet letter of conviction on your sleeve," Flood said.
Flood acknowleges that some people might find his appointment controversial.
"The integrity of the clemency process will not be compromised or diminished in any way, shape or form," he said. "We're going to continue to not only consider the impact upon victims, but also live up to a restorative justice model. It's about restoring not only the person who was incarcerated, but also the folks who were impacted by the crime."