Commutation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Commutation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Commutation?

It is the act of lessening of the sentence given to any prisoner on health, behaviour or any other grounds.It is given by the executive head of the state like the Governor.It is distinguished from being pardoned where the accused is released from punishemt completely.

History and Meaning of Commutation

Commutation is a legal term that refers to the reduction of a sentence of imprisonment or other penalty imposed on a person convicted of a crime. This reduction in sentence is granted by the executive head of the state, such as a Governor. Commutation is different from a pardon, which is the complete release of an accused person from punishment.

The primary reasons for granting commutation are generally on the grounds of good behavior or illness. Commutation is seen as an act of mercy, and it provides prisoners with the opportunity to serve a reduced sentence.

Examples of Commutation

Here are some examples of how the term commutation is used in different contexts:

  • The Governor granted the prisoner a commutation of sentence, reducing his 10-year prison term to five years.
  • The prisoner's request for commutation of sentence was rejected by the Governor due to his prior record of violent behavior.
  • The prisoner's lawyers filed a petition seeking commutation of his sentence based on his exemplary behavior in prison.
  • The President granted commutation of sentence to several inmates convicted of drug offenses as part of his criminal justice reform efforts.

Legal Terms Similar to Commutation

Here are some legal terms that are related to commutation:

  • Pardon: A pardon is an act of clemency that completely forgives the offender and restores all rights lost as a result of the conviction.
  • Reprieve: A reprieve is a temporary delay in carrying out a sentence of death, usually to allow more time for appeals or for legal remedies to be pursued.
  • Clemency: Clemency is a general term that encompasses pardons, commutations, and reprieves. It is an exercise of mercy that mitigates or reduces punishment for a crime.