How To Write Pardon Letters

A pardon letter is a type of letter written by a convicted prisoner requesting that his jail time be commuted. It is basically a note asking that you be released from prison and be forgiven for the crime that you committed based on changed circumstances or exemplary behavior. Not everyone is eligible for pardon since you must meet certain criteria to be considered.

Here’s how to write pardon letter.

  • Talk to your lawyer. You will need legal assistance to find out the specific requirements and guidelines about pardons in your state. Your lawyer will be able to discuss your options with you, such as filing for an appeal or an outright request for pardon. Your lawyer will review your case and guide you as to the particulars of what you need to process your pardon request.
  • Make sure you meet the requirements. For most states, you must have served at least a minimum of five years of your term to be considered for pardon. Depending on your crime, some convictions are not eligible for parole or pardon, such as if you were convicted for an extremely heinous crime. You must be able to show proof of rehabilitation or provide an excellent reason why you should be released from prison. If you have not met the minimum requirement, don’t bother writing the pardon. It will be denied.
  • Address your letter properly. Request for pardon letters are sent to your state’s General attorney’s office. If you are asking for a pardon for a Federal crime, then you must write the letter to the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney.
  • Be clear about your reasons. You must be able to provide a valid reason why you should be pardoned. All prisoners say they are innocent of the crimes they are convicted of. You must be able to show remorse for your specific crime. You must also convey how you have been changed during your time in prison and why you feel the time you have served is already enough for the crime that you have committed. Do not write the letter from an arrogant or dishonest standpoint. You must convey that if you are granted a pardon, it is a privilege that you hold highly and that you are no longer a threat to society.
  • Prepare your documentation. Aside from your letter, you must submit accompanying documents as proof of your eligibility for pardon. Letters of recommendation from the warden for your good behavior, or copies of your psychiatric evaluation are some examples. If you have recommendation letters from your victim’s family, it will be very helpful to your case. In your letter, indicate what documents you have included to support your claims.
  • Request for action to be taken. You may write that you respectfully request for a hearing. This will be an opportunity for you to present your case to a judge.

Few pardons are rarely given, but you may be one of the lucky ones if you are deemed eligible. Ask for help from your lawyer and your family but be prepared to wait it out. There’s no rush to serve pardons, so prepare properly and hope for the best.


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