Virginia Redemption Project

The Virginia Redemption Project recruits, trains, and supports volunteers to assist individuals incarcerated in Virginia’s prisons to petition for post-sentencing relief and executive clemency (which in Virginia is called a conditional pardon and is an act by the governor to modify a sentence). Having counsel through the process greatly increases the chances of success, and the Virginia Redemption Project is focused on ensuring that those who want to file a conditional pardon and cannot afford a lawyer have access to meaningful review of their case.

Through a joint commitment and shared resources from the ACLU of Virginia, FAMM, Justice Forward Virginia, the Legal Aid Justice Center, and the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, on August 6, 2020, NACDL launched this Return to Freedom effort.

Note: The Virginia Redemption Project is currently at capacity and not accepting applications.


While Virginia recognizes three types of pardons, this project will initially focus only on conditional pardons, which are only available to people who are currently incarcerated. A conditional pardon is an act by the Governor to modify or end a sentence imposed by the court. The Governor only grants a conditional pardon when there is substantial evidence of extraordinary circumstances to warrant it.

Volunteer to Help

Through this project, we screen individuals who are interested in receiving assistance with a conditional pardon based on identified criteria. We match those individuals with pro bono attorneys to assist them in completing their petition. And throughout the process, we provide counsel and support to the pro bono attorney. We also track the outcomes of conditional pardon petitions submitted through this project.

Information for Loved Ones

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