This is an excerpt from an article Lyn Head, Amanda Head’s cousin, the former chair of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
According to her article in the Alabama Daily News:
I’ll never forget my first pardon hearing. A man about my age stood before me. His back-story of struggles and failures in school, relationships, and alcohol and drugs sounded like those of hundreds of people I’d prosecuted as a Deputy District Attorney and District Attorney in Tuscaloosa. Yes, he had been to prison, but he also completed a successful re-entry program and a certification for his dream job, and he owned his own small business. He had recovered from drugs and alcohol, and when he stood before me, he was serving as a leader in his community and a mentor to youth “at risk of becoming him.”
This former “offender”/”inmate”/”convict” had become a business owner, taxpayer, and community pillar.This man had reformed his worldview, rehabilitated his choices, earned advanced education, and worked to correct the vulnerabilities in his community. He had been restored to justice, and as the result, earned a full pardon from the state of Alabama.
Lyn Head was a prosecutor for 18 years and began service on the Board of Pardons and Paroles in 2016.
Albert Pugh should not have dreaded his pardon hearing. He had been out of prison ten years and doing well. He started his own re-entry program in Cullman after working for one of the largest faith-based recovery centers in the state. An ordained minister, Albert has gotten married and bought a home. His record inside and outside prison exceeded any I saw while on the board. His record of service was also known by the board, based on the many times he appeared before them in efforts to assist other men to succeed as he had.
In 2010, a judge determined that Albert was no longer “a violent offender” based on the changes he had made, even while still in prison. A retired veteran probation and parole officer supported him in his re-entry from prison. When I asked this officer what had led her to support Albert, she informed me that Albert had earned boxes of certificates that had filled an entire room. She added that Albert Pugh had actually done more for her than she had done for him. Albert Pugh was denied a pardon in February of this year. This was a pardon day with no inspiration, hope or joy, like most of them since 2019.
I encourage everyone to speak up for our fellow brothers and sisters who deserve a pardon and a chance at redemption. Contact Governor Kay Ivey, Board of Pardons & Paroles Director Cam Ward, and Pardon & Paroles Board members Leigh Gwathney, Dwayne Spurlock, and Darryl Littleton. They need to hear from all of us that the people of Alabama want the state to participate in restorative justice through the application of better-informed pardon decisions. We all receive God’s grace through pardon on a daily basis. People who have paid their debts to society are no less deserving of that Grace.