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Find more information on Pardons for Individuals Convicted at Ages 16 & 17 by clicking the Pardons tab.
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Find more information on Pardons for Individuals Convicted at Ages 16 & 17 by clicking the Pardons tab.

The Governor of New York has the power to grant clemency in the form of reprieves, commutations, and pardons. 

Clemency applications commonly come in two forms: sentence commutations and pardons. In general, a commutation is a sentence reduction and a pardon provides unique relief for individuals who have completed their sentences but remain disadvantaged by their criminal history.

The Executive Clemency Bureau is a unit within the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision that assists the Governor’s Office with clemency applications. The Executive Clemency Bureau receives applications and begins a review process, which includes compiling past criminal and/or inmate records.  The Bureau then sends completed applications to the Governor’s Office for review.

Please see below for more information on clemencies and how to apply. 

Pardons
Pardons
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Pardons provide unique relief for individuals who have completed their sentences but remain disadvantaged by their criminal history. Currently, the Governor is offering two distinct opportunities for a pardon. If you are interested in applying for a pardon, please review the following table and decide which opportunity fits your situation.

 Standard PardonPardon for Convictions at 16 & 17

A standard pardon is most often granted to:

  1. Set aside a conviction when overwhelming evidence and convincing proof of innocence becomes available;
  2. Relieve a disability that is imposed because of a conviction (such as ineligibility to receive State occupational licenses for first-time felons); or
  3. Prevent deportation from or permit re-entry into the United States.

Unless there are exceptional and compelling circumstances, a standard pardon is not considered if the applicant has other administrative remedies available to them, such as a certificate of good conduct or a certificate of relief from disabilities, pursuant to provisions of Article 23 of the Corrections Law.

Apply for Standard Pardon

This pardon is offered to applicants who committed a non-violent crime at age 16 or 17. If you meet all requirements, you are eligible to be recommended for a pardon. 

If you receive this pardon, the New York State Office of Court Administration has stated that it will restrict public access to your criminal history, meaning that it will not be available to private employers, landlords or other companies that seek this information.  

The seven requirements to be eligible for this pardon are: 

  1. At least 10 years have passed since you were either convicted of the crime, or released from a period of incarceration for that crime, if applicable. 
  2. You have been conviction-free since that time.
  3. You have been convicted of a non-violent offense. 
  4. You were not convicted of a sex offense.
  5. You are currently a New York State resident.
  6. You have paid taxes on any income.
  7. You are a productive member of your community, meaning that you are working, looking for work, in school or legitimately unable to work.

Apply for This Pardon

 

Commutations
Commutations
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A commutation reduces an inmate’s current sentence. The Governor may commute a sentence in any way that he considers appropriate. A sentence may be reduced to allow an inmate to be released immediately or on a specific date.

Except for extraordinary circumstances, a commutation of sentence will be considered only if:

  • The inmate's minimum period of imprisonment is more than one year;
  • The inmate has served at least one-half of his or her minimum prison term; and
  • The inmate is not eligible for parole within one year of the date of his or her application for clemency.
Commutation Eligibility
Commutation Eligibility
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An inmate will not be considered for a commutation merely as a reward for good conduct. There must be a reasonable probability that if the inmate is released, he or she will live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and that his or her release is not a threat to the public and will not denounce the seriousness of his or her crime as to undermine respect for the legal system.

A commutation of sentence is extraordinary relief. Accordingly, the applicant has the burden of demonstrating that he/she:

  • Has made exceptional strides in self-development and improvement; has made responsible use of available rehabilitative programs; has addressed identified treatment needs and the commutation is in the interest of justice, consistent with public safety and the rehabilitation of the applicant;

or

  • Is suffering from a terminal illness or has a severe and chronic disability that would be substantially mitigated by release from prison, and the release is in the interest of justice and consistent with public safety;

or

  • Further incarceration would constitute gross unfairness because of the basic inequities involved.

If an eligible applicant has been notified that his or her application has been denied, the applicant may reapply one year after the date of notification unless authorized to do so sooner. 

How To Apply
How To Apply
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Interested applicants should apply for either a pardon or commutation and submit their entire completed application package to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Executive Clemency Bureau as outlined below.

For Pardons

For Commutations

  • No request form is necessary.
  • Write a letter describing the applicant’s need for a commutation and examples of rehabilitation and provide positive accomplishments since his or her conviction (for example: program completion, community involvement, education achievements, employment history and volunteer service).
  • Provide proof of such accomplishments (for example: certificates of completion, commendation letters, proof of degrees attained, etc).
  • Include the applicant's Social Security number, Departmental Identification Number (DIN) if available, NYSID Number, FBI Number, or Alien Registration Number for immigration cases.
  • Optional: Provide letters of support from family, friends or community members.

Please send your application letter and supporting documents to:

New York State 
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Executive Clemency Bureau
The Harriman State Campus – Building 2
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12226-2050

OR

Scan and email your application package to the following address: PardonsAndCommutations@doccs.ny.gov

 

 

View more information about the clemency review process.

Resources
Resources
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The following organizations provide resources and services related to criminal justice issues: 

Center for Employment Opportunities

Correctional Association of New York State

DOE Fund

Exodus Transitional Community

Fortune Society

Just Leadership USA

Legal Action Center

The Osbourne Association

Vera Institute for Justice

Press Releases

Governor Cuomo Offers Executive Pardons to New Yorkers Convicted of Crimes at Ages 16 and 17, December 21, 2015

Governor Cuomo Grants Clemency to Four Individuals and Launches Pro Bono Clemency Program, October 22, 2015

Governor Cuomo Grants Pardons, December 31, 2014

Governor Cuomo Announces Pardons, December 31, 2013

Clemency Petitions Received by the NYS Executive Clemency Bureau 

(as of December 31, 2014)

Calendar
 Year

Petitions
Received

Petitions
Granted

Pardons

Commutations

Pardons

Commutations

2006

187

138

0

0

2007

159

159

1

0

2008

267

210

1

2

2009

242

232

1

1

2010

496

773

34

2

2011

497

243

0

0

2012

119

293

0

0

2013

66

149

3

0

2014

21

150

2

0

2015

36

254

3

3

 

 

 

 

Contact
Contact

Call us Monday to Friday 8:30AM-5:00PM. 

Visit the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website: www.doccs.ny.gov

(518) 457-7565

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Executive Clemency Bureau The Harriman State Campus – Building 2 1220 Washington Avenue Albany, NY 12226-2050