Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter announced pardons today for two men who served prison terms for drug trafficking, underwent substance abuse programming, paid restitution, successfully completed parole and now have good jobs, solid families and are contributing members of their communities.
"This is the way it's supposed to work. We send people to prison to protect the public, for punishment and as a deterrent. But we also send them to prison to be rehabilitated and -- we hope -- to be redeemed as citizens, neighbors, fathers, husbands, and taxpayers," the Governor said. "Too often it doesn't work out that way. But for Robert Thornton and Eric Hinckley, it did. I'm proud of them. I'm confident they'll stay on track, and I hope they'll serve as examples to others of how to successfully emerge from our criminal justice system."
Governor Otter granted the pardons at the unanimous recommendation of the Idaho Commission for Pardons and Parole and after thorough review of their records. The Governor spelled out the history of each case and his reasons for granting clemency to Thornton and Hinckley in separate briefing papers accompanying this press release.
A pardon does not expunge criminal charges, convictions and sentences from an individual's record, but it does provide official acknowledgement and recognition of significant rehabilitation and change. That offers important context for potential employers and opens new career possibilities for former offenders.