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: https://www.gov.ca.gov/clemency/commutations

For more information and instructions on how to apply for a pardon, please see: https://www.gov.ca.gov/clemency/pardons