With all the hubbub going on about Karla Homolka being eligible for a pardon, I think I should state my view on the topic.
Yes, Homolka should not receive a pardon. But, she should be eligible to apply for one.
I feel all criminals who have served their time for their crimes should be allowed to apply for a pardon. They have served their time and should be given the chance to get on with their lives. Note I said chance. It’s not a guarantee they should have.
So what I would do with the pardon system is make it so that after a criminal has been out of jail for some period of time (e.g. five years), he/she is allowed to apply for a pardon if he/she so chooses. Should this happen, the person’s criminal record, trial transcripts, victim impact statements, etc. are examined in the pardon hearing. As well, the applicant would testify to his/her behaviour, and would be allowed to bring witnesses to his/her rehabilitation to that point. These documents, etc. will be used to judge if the criminal truly deserves a pardon. If the application is rejected, the criminal can reapply for a pardon in another five years (again, the example I am using).
Should the criminal’s pardon application be rejected three times, that’s it. The criminal will not be able to apply again.
The crux of this entire proposal is that the pardon board actually examines the facts of the person’s circumstances. The pardons must be earned, not simply granted because the individual applied.
Is this a fool-proof plan? No. But it will prevent more people who do not deserve a pardon from receiving one than do now.
Just my two cents on the matter.