A Commutation reduces the sentence of a convict while a pardon forgives the crime altogether.
What is commutation?
When a person is sentenced to prison, they are typically given a set amount of time that they will spend behind bars. However, in some cases, prisoners may be eligible for commutation, which is a reduction in their sentence. Commutation can be granted for a variety of reasons, such as good behaviour, old age or extraordinary circumstances. It is granted by the president or a state governor. A commutation does not erase the record of the conviction.
What is a pardon?
A pardon is a formal, official act of forgiveness. It is granted by the president or a state governor and restores certain civil rights, such as the right to vote or hold public office, to a person who has been convicted of a crime. A pardon does not erase the record of the conviction.
When to choose commutation or pardon
There are several factors authorities take into consideration when deciding whether to commute or pardon a sentence. The most important factor is the severity of the crime. If the crime is serious, such as murder, then a commutation is usually not an option. For less serious crimes, such as nonviolent offenses, a commutation may be possible. Another factor to consider is the amount of time the person has already served. If the person has already served a significant portion of their sentence, then a pardon is more likely to be granted than if they have only served a short amount of time. Finally, the person’s behavior while in prison can also affect the decision. If the person has been well-behaved and shown remorse for their crime, then they are more likely to be pardoned than someone who has not behaved well in prison.