The Three Forms of Clemency

Within the criminal justice system, there is a judicial act that is referred to as “clemency.” There are three primary forms of clemency: 1) a reprieve, 2) a commutation of sentence, or 3) a pardon. Continue reading to learn what clemency means for a convict, and how each type of clemency works.

Clemency is another term for mercy, leniency, or forgiveness. In the criminal justice system, it applies to convicted individuals who are serving jail or prison time. It is an act that can only be conducted by an executive member of government; under state law it would be the governor, and under federal law it would be the President of the United States.

Clemency extends leniency to convicted inmate by offering opportunities for reduced imprisonment. As mentioned in the introduction, there are three forms of judicial leniency, which include reprieves, commutations of sentences, and pardons.

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