The State Board of Pardons and Paroles surprised a guest speaker at the monthly board meeting today, with a pardon.

Tina Stanley was forgiven for her past felony convictions. The pardon is an act of “official forgiveness” on the part of the state. Stanley had just spoken to the five-member Parole Board after a video was played detailing her many years of drug and alcohol abuse, followed by prison, parole, her recovery, and ultimately the judge in her case commuting the remaining probation portion of her sentence.

Stanley said this about receiving the pardon. “My whole life starts over, the Lord told me this was going to happen and today was the day. I think it is wonderful and amazing and I’m very grateful,” she said.

Parole Board Chairman Terry Barnard presented Stanley with the pardon and thanked Stanley for sharing her “faith” and her life story with the Board.

“We know that more than 70% of those who are paroled in Georgia are successful, a percentage well above the national average, but it’s not often we get to hear firsthand the details of these positive outcomes, and then today, we see those who have been paroled and they’re successful,” states Barnard. “Not many are pardoned, however Tina Stanley is certainly deserving of this pardon.”

Stanley is fourteen years in recovery. She continues to volunteer at Innervention, a program where she lives in Dalton, where she facilitates treatment groups. “I just wanted to be a positive person and give back, and I’m still doing that,” Stanley told the Board.

A pardon may serve as a means for the petitioner to advance in employment or education. A pardon does not expunge (remove) an offense from the person’s record. The Parole Board may issue a pardon to a former offender who has met all the requirements including being crime free for a minimum of five years.

Parole Board Members are full-time state employees. They are appointed by the Governor to seven year terms subject to confirmation by the State Senate. Board Members determine which parole eligible offenders may be paroled to serve the remainder of their prison sentence under community supervision. In addition to issuing parole certificates, Board Members may issue pardons, restore political and civil rights, and restore firearm rights. The Board is the only authority in Georgia that can commute a death sentence to life with or without parole eligibility.

For more information please contact Steve Hayes, Communications Director for the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, at 404-657-9450 or and visit our website at