Board of Pardons Prisoners' pardon application case files
Some records may not be available for research from June 1-11, 2015 due to equipment upgrades. Please consider visiting beforehand or contacting the Research Center for more information.
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
Scope and Content
Case files consist of letters to the Governor, a formal application for a pardon, petitions and letters of support from the public and officials connected to the case and during the first 40 years, case files often contained court transcripts, biographical sketches, prison evaluations and a wide variety of related documentation. Cases illustrate the process of review by the board of cases of prisoners incarcerated in the Utah prison system to determine if they should be released before their regular sentence ended. Documents contain personal data about the prisoner, criminal activity, family background and evaluation of the prisoner's adjustment to incarceration.
In Utah, the release of a convicted felon from the prison system began with an application made by the prisoner. During the territorial period applications were made directly to the Governor, usually in the form of a letter asking for a pardon or release from prison. With the creation of the Board of Pardons by the state constitution in 1896, the process of obtaining some form of release from prison became more formalized. The filing of an application with the Board initiated the process of scheduling a hearing, evaluating the individual prisoner, and either approving or denying the application for release.
Alphabetical by surname until 1896, thereafter numerical by case number.
Some undated or unnumbered cases are included in the first two boxes by applicant's name.
Variations occur in the way case numbers were assigned at different times, affecting the way in which the series might be searched. Identical case numbers were sometimes assigned to several different prisoners, particularly during the earlier period. These are sometimes identified as cases 231A, 231B, 231C, etc., and this does not indicate any close relationship between any of the cases. One particular individual might have several cases in the series; while others--again mostly in the early part of the files--may have only one case in which was placed several applications arising out of the same offense, or applications arising out of different offenses committed by the person. Some prisoners used an alias on some applications and a real name on others. The numerical files begin with case #28, then jump to #31. The assignment of case numbers to applications for release, date from the time the Board of Pardons was created in 1896. Cases numbered 1-27 and 29-30 might be part of those cases organized alphabetically; they may also not have survived. The files organized alphabetically generally contain cases before 1896, but some unnumbered cases from later years were also placed in these boxes.
Territorial executive papers from the Territorial Secretary, Series 241, consist of letters requesting pardon and accompanying documentation before 1892.
Pardons granted record books from the Secretary of State, Series 329, contain pardons that were actually granted between 189 and 1915.
Schedule of proceedings from the Board of Pardons, Series 330, has further background data on prisoners listed in the schedule.
Minutes from the Board of Pardons and Parole, Series 332, has further background data on many of the prisoners whose cases are reviewed in this series.
Criminal history case files from the Board of Pardons and Parole, Series 80134, consist of letters requesting pardon and accompanying documentation after 1948.
Correspondence from the Board of Pardons and Parole, Series 80460, has further background data about many of these same prisoners.
The Governor's office first created this series beginning in 1852 during the territorial period. After the Board of Pardons was created in 1896, applications for pardon or parole were handled by this agency.
This series is classified as Public.
Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.
Gaps in Series
A few individual cases were removed before processing was completed and were not located. Cases were recorded up to #8099 and don't resume again until #9000. This does not reflect a break in the series, but rather a clerical error.
The cases filed alphabetically had no discernible order, so an alphabetical arrangement was imposed on them. Archival processing was completed in 1988 by Brent Brinkerhoff. The case files were microfilmed in November 1996 and the series updated by David Clark. Missing cases 28, and 68 through 108, were located in 2000 and the series updated again by A.C. Cone.
Indexes: Appendix A is an extensive name index that is sorted alphabetically by last name of the prisoner. Partial, handwritten index volumes are located in box 26,.
- Remission (Civil law)—Utah.
- Executive power—Utah.
|1||1||A - Haworth|
|2||1||Hayes - K|
|2||2||K - McPherson|
|3||2||Mecca - Williams|
|4||2||Wilson - Z|
|52||26||Handwritten Name Index|