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Oklahoma Grants 70 Percent of U.S. Commutations

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Dated: (July 1988) Pages: 6-15
Date Published
10 pages
Oklahoma topped all of the United States in the number of commutations granted to offenders in 1987, awarding nearly 70 percent of the total.
In order to reduce prison crowding, Oklahoma granted 815 commutations to prisoners nearing the end of their terms, out of a total of 1,172 for all States. Mississippi, which granted 100 commutations, also reported that commutations in recent years were given to relieve overcrowding. Texas commuted the sentences of 2 death row inmates, while 65 lifers received commutations across the country. Of 1,361 pardons granted in all States, 240 were awarded in South Carolina. One survey revealed that the governor in 35 States has the power to grant commutations and pardons. In nine States, the pardon board or equivalent body has such power. The President of the United States grants commutations and pardons in the District of Columbia and the Federal justice system. Not all States have pardon boards but in those that do, 20 are appointed by the governor or other officials. In 39 States, the parole board may make recommendations on commutations or pardons. When seeking clemency, an applicant may make a personal appearance before the pardon board or governor in 16 States for commutations and in 18 States for pardons. No commutations are given in Canada, but just over 12,000 pardons were issued in 1987. All pardons are granted by the Canadian Federal Cabinet after review by the National Parole Board and an inquiry conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A tabular summary of commutations and pardons for 1987 is included.


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