ABOUT THE BOARD

 

 

The Constitution of the State of Utah creates the Board of Pardons and Parole, and delegates the power and authority of the State to the Board to determine whether, and under what conditions, persons committed to prison may be released, supervised or returned to custody. Additional authority and structure are derived from statutory enactment by the Utah Legislature. (UCA Title 77, Chapter 27).

 

 

Mission

Pursuant to constitutional mandate and authority, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole seeks to fulfill it’s role in the state’s criminal justice system by rendering just decisions regarding the length of incarceration; parole supervision and revocation; sentence and parole termination; and when deciding petitions for commutation, clemency or pardon.

Board Jurisdiction

The Constitution of the State of Utah creates the Board of Pardons and Parole, and delegates the power and authority of the State to the Board to determine whether, and under what conditions, persons committed to prison may be released, supervised or returned to custody. Additional authority and structure are derived from statutory enactment by the Utah Legislature. (UCA Title 77, Chapter 27).

Prison sentences in Utah are indeterminate, meaning that imposed sentences are for a specified range of time, including a minimum and maximum time frame. The Legislature specifies the elements of, level of severity of, and applicable sentence for, each crime. When a sentencing court imposes a prison sentence following conviction, the court imposes the applicable indeterminate sentence. Currently, the most common indeterminate sentences in Utah are: 0-5 years for 3rd Degree Felonies; 1-15 years for 2nd Degree Felonies; and sentences up to and including Life for 1st Degree Felonies (1st degree felonies also carry a minimum sentence of between three and twenty-five years, depending upon the specific crime of conviction and applicable sentencing enhancements imposed by the court).

Once a person is sentenced to prison for the commission of any felony or Class A misdemeanor, jurisdiction over the indeterminate prison sentence, custody status and possible release become the province of the Board of Pardons and Parole. When a person is sent to prison in Utah, the offender must serve the entire sentence imposed unless the Board acts to release the offender prior to the expiration of the sentence.

The Board functions as an independent State agency within the executive branch. The Board itself consists of five full time members, (with up to five pro tempore members available to act for full time members, should such a need arise). Board members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, serving staggered five-year terms. Board action takes place upon the concurrence of a majority of board members. The agency was created and staffed to assist the Board with the discharge of its constitutional duties.

Board Authority

The Board has the exclusive constitutional and statutory authority to:

  • Pardon persons convicted of crimes.
  • Commute death sentences.
  • Commute or reduce any other sentence.
  • Determine whether an inmate will be paroled prior to the statutory expiration of sentence.
  • Impose and amend conditions of parole.
  • Impose or remit restitution, fines, and fees.
  • Impose sanctions for parole violations.
  • Terminate sentences prior to expiration.
  • Revoke parole and return parolees to prison.
  • Conduct evidentiary hearings.
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