A pardon is an act of grace which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment which the law inflicts for the crime he has committed.
A parole is when a prisoner is released from imprisonment but his liberty is not fully restored because the parolee is still considered in the custody of the law although he is not in confinement.
A commutation is a reduction or mitigation of the penalty, e.g., when the death sentence is reduced to life imprisonment.
A reprieve is merely a postponement of a sentence to a date certain, or a stay of execution. It may be ordered to enable the government to secure additional evidence to ascertain the guilt of the convict or, in the case of the execution of the death sentence upon a pregrant woman, to prevent the killing of her unborn child.
An amnesty is an act of grace given with the concurrence of Congress. It is usually extended to groups of persons who committed political offenses and it abolishes the offense itself.
Kinds of Pardon
Pardon may be classified into
- absolute or conditional; and
- plenary or partial.
A plenary pardon extinguishes all the penalties imposed upon the offender, including accessory disabilities, whereas a partial pardon does not.
- It cannot be granted in cases of impeachment.
- It cannot be granted in cases of violations of election laws without the favorable recommendation of the Commission on Elections.
- It can be granted only after conviction of final judgment.
- It cannot be granted in cases of legislative contempt or civil contempt.
- It cannot absolve the convict of civil liability.
- It cannot restore public offices forfeited.