The California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant clemency, which includes commutations of sentence 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.

Give input

You may submit input about clemency issues and cases to Governor Newsom on our Contact page.

Get information

The Governor’s Office encourages crime victims, survivors, and next-of-kin who seek information about clemency to contact the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) or call 1-877-256-6877 (toll free). Victims, survivors, and next-of-kin can register with OVSRS to receive support as well as updates about an incarcerated person’s status, and changes to a sentence and notice of parole hearings.

Read the Governor’s reports on clemency

For clemency reports issued by past administrations, please visit California Agency Reports (Agency: Governor) or California State Archives.

Apply for clemency

Clemency can take the form of a commutation of sentence or a pardon.

  • Commutation of sentence: The Governor can reduce the sentence of an individual serving a sentence in a California prison. For the commutation application form and additional information, see Commutations.
  • Pardon: A pardon provides relief from punishment and restores some civic rights for individuals who have been convicted of crimes in California and have completed their sentences. For the pardon application form and additional information, see Pardons.

The Governor is not required to consider an application and there is no set timeline for review. There is no court hearing and no application fee. You may apply for clemency without a lawyer. The Judicial Council of California provides clemency self-help information and the California State Bar offers referrals for no- and low-cost legal services.

The Board of Parole Hearings provides additional information about the clemency process. Attorneys may contact the Office of the State Public Defender for technical assistance on parole and clemency matters.