Applicable Form of Clemency: Commutation of Sentence

Eligibility: Every inmate is eligible to apply. Inmates denied a commutation of sentence must wait one year to reapply. The Chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board can permit exceptions to this limitation, if compelling reasons exist.

Application Process: Executive clemency is requested by means of a typewritten petition. It must be a narrative or essay written in complete sentences. Fill-in-the-blank formats are not acceptable. It must contain all of the following or it will be rejected and returned:

  • For each conviction for which clemency is being sought: State the offense, county of conviction, case number, sentence imposed, date of sentencing, and time served. State whether the conviction was the result of a jury verdict, a bench trial, or a guilty plea. Give the status of any pending court appeals.
  • The name under which the inmate was convicted, any aliases, the social security number, and the state prisoner number. Declare whether the inmate has previously asked for executive clemency for any conviction, and, if so, the month and year it was considered.
  • A detailed statement of the facts of the offenses, including dates places and all surrounding circumstances. This should include petitioner's version of the offenses.
  • A complete criminal history. This is to include every instance in which the petitioner was arrested for or charged with any offense in any jurisdiction, except minor traffic violations, and the disposition of each criminal charge (whether it results in a conviction and sentence or some other determination). Provide a statement of the facts surrounding any conviction.
  • A personal life history, a narrative biography. It must include date and place of birth, educational history, employment history, and marital status and whether the petitioner did or did not serve in the military.
  • Reasons for seeking clemency and the type desired.
  • Any supporting materials. Claims made within the petition should be supported by documentation, for example, a DD 214 or similar form for proof of military service.
  • If you wish to appear at the hearing, you must request in this petition that you be permitted to appear.
  • The following statement:

"I declare under penalty of perjury that all of the assertions made in this petition are complete, truthful and accurate."

  • This statement must be signed and sworn to before a notary public by the petitioner. Perjury is a class 3 felony that is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years.
  • Note: The petition must contain the petitioner's current mailing address. It is not sufficient to merely include a return address on the mailing envelope.

Before sending the petition to the Board, copies of the petition must be delivered or mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the following persons:

  • A sentencing judge, or the chief judge of the circuit, if the sentencing judge is no longer on the bench.
  • The current State's Attorney for the county of conviction. If Cook County is the county of conviction, address the copy to:

Cook County State's Attorney
2650 South California Avenue, Room 11D38
Chicago, IL 60608

Proof that the above parties were sent copies of the petition must be demonstrated to the Board either by affidavit or by registered or certified mail receipt. This proof must accompany the completed petition.

Address the petition to the Governor, but mail or deliver the original and three copies of the petition to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. Relevant addresses follow:

Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706

Illinois Prisoner Review Board
319 East Madison, Suite A
Springfield, IL 62701

The completed petition must be received at the Board's office at least 75 days before the first public hearing to be considered on that docket.

Public Hearing

Petitioners, their supporters, and any opponents may appear in person, unless currently incarcerated, at a public hearing scheduled by the Board, if they have requested to do so in their petition. Representatives of imprisoned petitioners may request to speak to the Board at public hearing, but a personal appearance is not required for the processing of a petition for executive clemency.

In order to obtain an appointment to appear at public hearing, a request must be made in writing at the time the petition is signed. The names and addresses of any witnesses who wish to provide testimony must be provided with the request.

Personal presentations at the public hearing are limited to 20 minutes. No more than four persons may speak during any presentation. Testimony is informal.


The Illinois Prisoner Review Board's  Executive Clemency and Expungement page contains the complete guidelines for the application process, as well as a sample petition for executive clemency.

Even if a completed petition has been filed according to the directions herein, a clemency petition may be withheld from placement on the soonest available docket, if essential, relevant information from other sources has not been received by the Board.

The recommendation to the Governor by the Board is confidential by law. The Board is not permitted under law to disclose it to anyone other than the Governor or his or her staff.

The decision to grant commutation lies with the Governor.

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You are on an unofficial webpage, not affiliated with the official state webpage. Every effort has been made to make this information accurate and up-to-date. Changes occur frequently and errors are inevitable. We would appreciate learning of any errors or inaccuracies. You may write to

CJPF is unable to answer questions regarding this state's clemency program. CJPF cannot provide legal assistance and does not take on individual clients. CJPF cannot provide applicants for clemency any assistance. Do not send clemency materials to CJPF. Please do not write or call asking for assistance.


Last updated 06/23/14