Today, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, declared that he had issued 17 pardons, 15 commutations, and 1 medical reprieve.
According to the California Constitution, the governor may pardon, commute, or issue a reprieve as examples of executive clemency. The Governor sees clemency as a critical component of the criminal justice system that can promote accountability and rehabilitation, improve public safety by removing obstacles to successful reentry, address the health needs of those who are incarcerated with significant medical risks, and correct unfair legal outcomes.
These clemency grants honour the applicants’ subsequent self-improvement efforts or the occurrence of a pressing medical need. They neither forgive nor downplay the harm that was done.
A pardon could eliminate unhelpful obstacles to employment and public service, reinstate civic rights and obligations, and stop unfair collateral consequences of conviction, like deportation and permanent family separation. A conviction is not expunged or removed following a pardon.
A commutation changes a sentence, enabling an inmate to be released earlier or to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings where Parole Commissioners will decide if the inmate is eligible for release.
A medical reprieve enables those who are deemed to pose a high medical risk by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to serve their sentences in suitable alternative settings in the community that support public health and safety.
When considering clemency requests, the governor takes into account a wide range of factors, including the applicant’s progress and behaviour since the offence, whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interests of justice, and the effect of the grant on the community, including crime victims and survivors.
Governor Newsom has issued a total of 129 pardons, 123 commutations, and 35 reprieves while in office.
The Governor’s Office encourages victims, survivors, and witnesses to register with CDCR’s Office of Victims and Survivors Rights and Services to receive information about an incarcerated person’s status. For general Information about victim services, to learn about victim-offender dialogues, or to register or update a registration confidentially, please visit www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/ or call 1-877-256-6877 (toll free).
Copies of the gubernatorial clemency certificates announced today can be found here.