Gov. John Hickenlooper granted clemency for 17 people on Thursday, bringing the total number of his pardons during his seven years in office to 40.
Hickenlooper said those selected for clemency have served their sentences and are currently contributing members of their communities.
Hundreds have people have applied to be pardoned while Hickenlooper has been in office, but few are chosen.
A pardon is a government decision to allow a person who has been convicted of a crime to be free and absolved of that conviction, as if they were never convicted.
Those selected on Thursday mostly had minor drug offenses, burglaries and criminal trespass charges.
The process involves lengthy deliberation, extensive review of the materials provided, and careful consideration of input from victims, judges, prosecutors and others.
“Clemency is one of the most difficult issues a governor faces. It’s a sobering task of significant consequence,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “We recognize the impact these crimes have had on others and this decision in no way lessens that. Those who apply for clemency are looking for the chance to continue contributing to their families and communities in meaningful ways. These 17 people have earned the opportunity for a second chance.”
To date, the governor has pardoned 40 individuals out of 170 total applications reviewed by his office. Last November, he pardoned 22 people, including one man who earned doctorate after his release.
One of Hickenlooper's most recent pardons included a man who joined the Army after his criminal trespass conviction and eventually earned a Purple Heart. Other recipients included a couple who had been convicted 15 years ago of domestic violence, but foster children today.
Hickenlooper's first pardon in office was Rene Lima-Marin, the man convicted of a crime back in 2000, released erroneously early, re-arrested and released again only to be put into ICE custody. Lima-Marin was finally released, this time for good, on Monday.