b. Right to own property. A punitive discharge does not affect one's right to own property.
c. Right to vote. Whether or not an individual loses his right to vote in state elections
depends on state law. No definite answer can be given here. The prisoner will have to check with
authorities from the state where he will reside in order to determine whether he will be permitted to
vote in that state. However, he may vote in national elections.
d. Right to a driver's license. A punitive discharge does not affect one's right to a driver's
4. Modifications, Many prisoners believe that it is a simple matter to have a punitive discharge
removed from their record. Such is not the case at all. It is very difficult to have any punitive
discharge changed to a more favorable one. Some of the procedures or boards that prisoners may
have heard about are discussed in the following paragraphs.
5. Exemplary Rehabilitation Certificate. This certificate is issued by the US Department of
Labor. It may be obtained after 3 years of exemplary performance in civilian life, upon statements
a. The person's good conduct by the chief law enforcement officer of the person's city,
town, or country.
b. The person's present or former employer.
c. At least five people who have known the person 3 years or more.
6. The certificate states that since the person's separation from the armed services he has had a
record of good character and exemplary conduct, activities, and habits for a period of at least the
past 3 years. However, the exemplary rehabilitation certificate does not change the fact that the
punitive discharge is still on the person's record. The certificate does not alter the punitive
7. Army Discharge Review Board. This board normally reviews only administrative
discharges (general and undesirable). It is forbidden by law from reviewing punitive discharges
given by general court-martial. However, it has the power to review bad conduct discharges given
by special courts-martial. It will change, correct, or modify a discharge only when it is shown that
the discharge was not equitably or properly given. The board consists of five or more officers
designated by the Secretary of the Army.
8. Board for the Correction of Military Records. This board consists of at least three civilian
attorneys appointed by the Secretary of the Army. Any type of military record may be corrected by
this board. For example, the board is authorized to change any type of discharge, efficiency reports,
records of trial, and even preinduction examinations. Thus, the board for the correction of military
records can change either administrative or punitive discharges, but it will do so only if an error
exists or the discharge was unjustly given.
9. Presidential Pardons. Surprisingly, even a pardon by the President of the United States does
not change the type of discharge on a person's record. The pardon does reinstate the loss of rights