Board of Pardons and Parole Minutes
These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.
Scope and Content
Minutes were kept, as a requirement of law, to record hearings held for prisoners before the Board of Pardons. They record background information and decisions for all pardons, commutations, terminations, and paroles. Regular meetings were held each month, with other meetings held as the Board felt necessary. An application for a prisoner's hearing was required to be submitted to the Board a minimum of thirty days before each meeting. The application could be denied without notice but once it had been granted a hearing was scheduled.
The hearing is open to the public, during which the prisoner is interviewed by the Board. Interested persons also testify, under oath, for or against the prisoner. Reports from adult probation and parole and law enforcement officials, the prosecuting attorney, the judge, and the warden and staff of the prison may be presented during the hearing. The Board and their staff then meet privately in an executive session where testimony and reports are considered. After this session they again meet with the prisoner and other interested persons to announce their ruling. The following variables are considered in making decisions. Discussion of these issues is usually summarized in the minutes.
(1) physical, social, psychological, and moral evaluations of the prisoner;
(2) prison history, including work and disciplinary records;
(3) evidence of rehabilitation indicating a willingness to obey laws upon release;
(4) the seriousness of criminal acts and perceived danger to society;
(5) the circumstances under which an offense was committed which would make the action more understandable; and
(6) constructive resources available upon release such as employment opportunities.
Other documents are occasionally included with the minutes. As required by law, a document entitled "Proof of Publication" verifies that the meetings were advertised in a newspaper having statewide circulation. A written order, reflecting a majority decision, is issued denying or granting a prisoner's request. If a prisoner is paroled, he signs a document showing that he understands or is in agreement with the conditions of his release.
Orders terminating paroles are often included with the minutes; these recommendations are frequently made by Adult Probation and Parole Department personnel. When conditions of release are violated, hearings are set for the earliest regularly scheduled meeting of the Board to reconsider the case. Remarks of any legal counsel are sometimes included in the minutes from these types of hearings. Reports of parole violations, requests that a parole be revoked, and the issuance of warrants result from the meetings and are often attached as well.
In addition, minutes from the years 1961 through 1973 contain orders issued for several actions: granting and denying requests for release; continuing hearing dates; setting hearing dates; rescinding previous decisions; and revoking previous decisions.
From 1896 until 1951 the Board of Pardons consisted of the Governor, who acted as chairman, justices of the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General. In 1951 the legislature reorganized the Board of Pardons, which after that date consisted of three "resident citizens" chosen by the Board of Corrections. An executive secretary, hired by the Board, was responsible for recording and keeping the minutes. Later legislation expanded its membership to five.
Chronological by date.
Formal and concise typewritten descriptions (loose) are available for actions taken by the Board from 1896 through 1914 in box 1. Handwritten accounts, in box 2 (volume), covering part of the same period, 1907 through 1914, are more detailed but sometimes difficult to read. Loose minutes from 1914-1919. Some of the minutes for 1957 were microfilmed in random order.
Board of Pardons minutes from the Secretary of State, Series 238, kept by the Secretary of State, contains minutes from 1974 which are missing from this series.
Prisoners' pardon application case files from the Board of Pardons, Series 328, has further background data on many of the prisoners whose cases are reviewed in this series.
Schedule of proceedings from the Board of Pardons, Series 330, contains brief entries noting decisions reached at specific meetings between 1896 and 1918.
Criminal extradition records from the Lieutenant Governor, Series 348, contains summaries for the hearings of prisoners over much of the same period covered in this series.
Prison commitment registers from the Department of Corrections. Inmate Services, Series 80388, contains summaries for the hearings of prisoners over much of the same period covered by this series.
Correspondence from the Board of Pardons and Parole, Series 80460, of the Board of Pardons contains discussions of specific cases mentioned in the minutes.
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
Records created from 1973 through 1978 are missing from the series, as are those minutes of several monthly meetings. Minutes created since 1982 are scheduled to be retained at least ten years in the office before being transferred to the Archives.
Minutes from 1956 to 1963 were microfilmed by the archives in 1981. Archival processing was completed in 1988, and additions will be processed as they are received; A reel of 1914-1919 minutes was located during the 1998 inventory.. Minutes created since 1982 are scheduled to remain in agency custody for at least five years before being transferred to the state archives. The volume figure represents only that part of the series held in archival storage.
- Rehabilitation of criminals—Utah.
Page Last Updated October 18, 2012.