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How Presidential Commutations and Pardons Work


NewsHubPresident Obama gave out dozens of pardons today, and commuted the sentences of over 200 people— including Chelsea Manning. Here are the differences between presidential pardons and commutations, as well as how the process unfolds.
As Mark Berman at the Washington Post explains, the commutation and pardon process is fairly straightforward. First, people convicted of crimes apply for executive clemency through the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney. Those applications are reviewed by the deputy attorney general’s office before they make their way to the White House, where the president makes the final decision.
When a commutation is given, the sentence someone is currently serving is cut short.

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