Bevin restores civil rights to 284 Kentuckians

06/30/2017 12:57 PM

Two hundred eighty-four Kentuckians who have completed their sentences and requested a restoration of their civil rights will soon be able to hold public office and vote.

Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, restored the civil rights to the 284 Kentuckians pending final background reviews by the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

“As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, it is fitting to reflect upon the many blessings that we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America,” Bevin said in a news release. “The opportunity for second chances and redemption has been a cornerstone principle of our great nation since its inception.

“The criminal justice system should not exist solely to punish offenders, but also to rehabilitate and assimilate them back into society,” Bevin continued. “Through this executive action, we are empowering men and women with the opportunity to become contributing members of our communities. Restoring the voting rights of certain prior offenders who have paid their debt to society is a significant step towards achieving this goal. There will be many more such opportunities in the months and years ahead.”

A total of 308 Kentuckians have had their civil rights restored thus far, according to the Bevin administration.

During the 2016 legislative session the General Assembly passed, and Bevin signed into law legislation making it easier for non-violent felons to have their records expunged.

Bevin also signed an executive order this year to “ban the box.” The order removed questions about criminal history from the initial application for state jobs in the executive branch.

In the waning days of Bevin’s predecessor, former Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, signed an executive order allowing the automatic restoration for the right to vote and hold public office to certain offenders once all terms of their sentences have been satisfied.

As Bevin took office he signed an order rescinding Beshear’s executive order granting the expungement. At the time Bevin said the issue must be addressed through legislation.

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