It is possible that once a sentence has been passed on an individual who has been found guilty by a court of law that the sentence be reduced to one that is less severe. This reduction of sentencing is referred to as a commuted sentence. The word commutation is derived from the Latin word commutare, which translates to “to change altogether”.
A commutation of sentence is given by the chief executive of the government, a president or prime minister; in the case of the United States, this means the President. Other government officials also review and evaluate cases of commuted sentence before it is given. A commuted sentence reduces the severity of the sentence and in now way nullifies or erases the criminal offense done or the sentence given. The offense and the sentence are still reflected on the convict’s criminal history. It is also possible that a commuted sentence involve a reduction of fees or penalties as ordered by the judge.
A commuted sentence usually involves a reduction in prison term and is usually given to individuals who have proven themselves to have been on good behavior and those proven to have been given a too severe sentencing. A commuted sentence is not a form of pardon or clemency. A pardon or clemency means that the individual is forgiven for the crime he or she has committed and is no longer subject to the sentence he or she was given. A commuted sentence means that the crime deserves punishment, however, the punishment may be excessive or too severe.