Over the past year, the Pardons Department at the Ministry of Justice processed 1,313 requests for pardon, most (62%) were requests to erase a criminal record. Many positive recommendations were forwarded to the President of Israel, recommending to grant pardon to the applicants, according to the data of the Pardons Department at the Ministry of Justice that are being released leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) 5784.
The authority to pardon criminals, reduce various punishments, erase criminal records and impose life sentences is a unique and special power in the field of administration and administration, exercised in exceptional and special circumstances and sparingly, and given solely to the President of Israel.
The Pardons Department at the Ministry of Justice examines the applications submitted to the President of the State, collects the information and opinions necessary for making the decision and prepares an opinion that is presented to the Minister of Justice, prior to his recommendation to the President of Israel.
As mentioned, over the course of the past year, the Pardons Department at the Ministry of Justice processed 1,313 requests for pardon, of which 813 (62%) were requests to erase a criminal record, 277 (21%) were requests for a reduction in active prison sentences (both incarceration and community service), 150 (11%) requests for a reduction of confiscation penalties and approximately 73 (6%) requests for relief from fine penalties (traffic, administrative and criminal).
During this period, the Pardons Department forwarded 1,184 opinions to the Minister of Justice, of which 28% were positive opinions recommending granting pardon to the applicants. Of all the positive opinions forwarded, 62% are positive recommendations for erasing a criminal record, 12% are for the mitigation of fines, 7% are for the mitigation or classification of disqualification penalties, and 5% are for the mitigation of actual prison sentences (including community service).
Director of the Pardons Department at the Ministry of Justice, Attorney Limor Goldenberg-Haddad, said that "a significant number of the requests for pardon that were submitted focus on erasing the criminal record of those who have undergone rehabilitation processes, got on to the right path and are trying to integrate into the labor market, and to remove the stain of criminal labeling from themselves."
According to Goldenberg-Haddad, "In this regard, we must note the special track for erasing criminal records for soldiers, where the Pardons Department collaborates with the Chief Education Officer in the IDF in order to help soldiers who have been convicted of crimes before their military service to integrate into civil society at the completion of their service. Data shows that 99% of all soldiers' requests submitted through this cooperation system – are answered positively."
"It is important to note that the authority to grant pardon is intended for exceptional cases only, with unique and unusual circumstances. Each request for pardon is first examined in the Pardons Department at the Ministry of Justice; the department's employees examine the applications, collect documents and opinions from all the relevant parties, all in order to present a broad and in-depth picture regarding the request to the Minister of Justice and then to the President, to enable a professional decision to be reached," she concluded.