Clemency – Commutations & Pardons

The California Constitution gives the Governor the power to grant clemency in criminal cases in the form of reprieves, commutations, and pardons. Clemency is an important part of the criminal justice system that can:

  • incentivize accountability and rehabilitation;
  • increase the safety of the people working and serving sentences in our jails and prisons;
  • increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry; and
  • correct unjust results in the legal system.

Clemency applications commonly come in two forms: sentence commutations and pardons. In general, a commutation is a sentence reduction for people still serving a sentence, and a pardon provides relief from punishment and restoration of certain civic rights for people who have already served their sentence.

For more information and instructions on how to apply for a commutation of sentence, please see:

For more information and instructions on how to apply for a pardon, please see:


2019 Executive Report on Parole Review Decisions (View PDF)

2019 Executive Report on Pardons, Commutations of Sentence, and Reprieves (View PDF)


Office of Governor Gavin Newsom LGBTQ California Clemency Initiative Information

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a California clemency initiative in acknowledgement of the discrimination and harm inflicted by the criminal justice system on LGBTQ people for living authentic lives.

People who have been convicted in California for engaging in consensual adult, sexual conduct, including consensual sexual activity between adults that has since been decriminalized under California law, are encouraged to submit a direct pardon application to Governor Newsom. For information on submitting a pardon application, go here

For more information on the new clemency initiative as it becomes available, please send your contact information here.