About the Office

For over 100 years, the President has relied on the Department of Justice, and particularly the Office of the Pardon Attorney, for assistance in the exercise of the executive clemency power granted to the President by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the President’s clemency power extends only to federal criminal offenses. Executive clemency may take several forms, including pardon, commutation of sentence, remission of fine or restitution, or reprieve. All requests for executive clemency for federal offenses are directed to the Pardon Attorney for review, investigation, and preparation of the Department’s recommendation to the President, which is signed by the Deputy Attorney General, for the final dispositions of each application. The Office of the Pardon Attorney also prepares the documents the President signs when granting executive clemency and notifies all applicants of the President’s clemency decisions.

Updated February 23, 2016