The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons has a new leader who knows what it’s like to be on both sides of a prison cell. 

Brandon Flood has had a lot of success in recent years, but that was not always the case. He was no stranger to law enforcement or the justice system. These days, he is focusing on helping people get a second chance. 

Flood’s background gives him a unique perspective as the new secretary of the Board of Pardons. 

“I was a hardened criminal at one point with two felony convictions,” said Flood. 

He spent a total of nine years behind bars. 

“Being released from prison was a reason to stay out of trouble, and knowing if I stayed on the straight and narrow it would be possible for me to start my life over,” said Flood. 

Flood knows first-hand about the process of seeking clemency, which he obtained in March. 

“The first time I applied, I got rejected because of a clerical error and I was tempted not to reapply because I was able to navigate pretty well professionally,” said Flood. 

Flood spent the last several years serving as an advocate for key issues that the state legislature was considering. Now, he reports directly to the lieutenant governor. 

“The main thing we are looking to do is to modernize the system right now. It is still paper-based. We want to go fully online,” said Flood. “There are a lot of people in this area that don’t consider pardons as an option because they think it’s cost prohibitive, which is incorrect, or the application itself is too rigorous.”

Flood says he took the position to become a difference maker. 

“My job is to restore hope that not only the system and the process works but that clemency is not only reserved for the well connected and the rich,” said Flood.