People who have been convicted of a crime and are currently serving their sentence in California may apply for a commutation (reduction of sentence). 

In deciding whether to grant a commutation, the Governor’s Office will carefully review each commutation application and consider: 

  • the impact of a commutation on the community, including whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interests of justice; 
  • the age and circumstances of the offense and the sentence imposed, and the age of the applicant at the time; 
  • the applicant’s self-development and conduct since the offense, including whether the applicant has made use of available rehabilitative programs and has identified and addressed treatment needs; 
  • the applicant’s need for a commutation; and
  • the applicant’s plans upon release from custody. 

Applicants will be notified when the Governor takes action on a commutation application.


The Board of Parole Hearings, a division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, investigates commutation applications. The investigation will include a review of the applicant’s criminal history records, court and police records, and records and information about the applicant’s period of incarceration from the applicant’s C-File and other sources.


To apply for a commutation for the first time, or if you previously applied for a commutation under a prior Governor and did not receive notice of a commutation grant:

  • Submit a completed Commutation Application (2 pages) to the Governor’s Office. You may, but are not required to, submit additional information or copies of relevant documents in support of your application, such as letters of support or certificates of achievement. Please do not send original documents because application materials cannot be returned; and
  • Submit a completed Notice of Intent to Apply for Clemency (1 page) to the District Attorney in the county of the conviction for your commitment offense; and 
  • Submit an authorization for release of medical information if you are applying for a commutation because you are suffering from a terminal illness or have a severe and chronic disability that would be substantially mitigated by release from prison or reduction of sentence.  

If you would like to request forms by mail, please send a letter to: Office of the Governor, Attn: Legal Affairs/Parole and Clemency, 1021 O Street, Suite 9000, Sacramento, CA 95814.