Board of Pardons and Parole

Entity: 754
Entity Type: State Government


The Board of Pardons was created in 1896 by Utah's newly adopted constitution. The Board was composed of the Governor, the Justices of the Utah Supreme Court, and the State Attorney General. The mission of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole is to render just decisions regarding pardons, length of incarceration, parole supervision and commutation of sentence.

Biography/History Notes

"The board of pardons and parole has the authority to determine when and under what conditions persons committed to serve sentences for crimes in Utah may be released on parole, pardoned, ordered to make restitution, or have their fines, forfeitures, or restitution remitted, or their sentences commuted or terminated. Most prison sentences in Utah are of indeterminate length. Thus, the board must determine when and under what conditions a convicted offender will be released. Such determinations are made following formal hearings conducted by the board. The board has used sentencing guidelines in making parole decisions. As prison population has increased, the board has made various policy changes in order to help it keep up with the increased demand for parole hearings. Decisions of the board are final and generally are not subject to judicial review. "Unlike the situation in many other states, the power of the governor in Utah over prisoners in the correctional system is very limited." (Source: "State and Local Government in Utah," 1992 ed., p. 170.)

"The board consists of five full-time members and three pro tempore members who are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. If a full-time member is absent or in other extraordinary circumstances, the chairperson of the board may assign a pro tempore member to act in place of the absent full-time member. Full-time members serve terms of five years which are staggered so that a new board member is appointed each year. The governor may remove a board member for inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance, or other cause after a hearing." (Source: "State and Local Government in Utah," 1992 ed., p. 170.)?Chronology (1953-1993):?1953 -- Board consisted of three part-time members.?1977 -- Board consisted of five full-time members.?1983 -- Board consisted of three full-time members.?1985 -- The governor and not the Board of Corrections appoints the Board.?1986 -- Jurisdiction expanded from felony cases to restitution and class A misdemeanors.?1988 -- Board required to notify victims of an offender's parole hearing.?1990 -- Board consists of five full-time members and three pro tempore members with staggered five-year terms. Chairperson appointed by governor for indefinite term. 1992 -- Commutation of the Board of Pardons restricted. Death sentence may only be commuted to "life without parole."?1993 -- The Utah constitutional provision relating to the Board of Pardons was rewritten to include changing the name to the Board of Pardons and Parole.?(Source: Board of Pardons and Parole web site: