Q: What is the difference between a pardon and clemency?
A: There is no difference. Technically, clemency is the general term for commutation, pardon and reprieve. Commutation is for the person in prison, who is seeking to be released early but isn’t necessarily looking to have the conviction pardoned. A pardon is for the person who is not in custody or on probation and wants to be “forgiven” for their offense. A pardon can also be granted for a person who is in prison. A reprieve is a delay in punishment, usually for a person sentenced to the death penalty. The Governor can stay the execution pending appeals, etc. Although the death penalty is technically still legal in Illinois, Governor Ryan suspended the death penalty indefinitely in 2000.