The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina

Office of Executive Clemency



Applications for Commutation

Applications for Pardon

Glossary of Terms

In North Carolina, the Governor has the power to grant clemency in the form of  commutations and pardons.

Commutation - whereby an individual presently incarcerated and serving an active sentence has their sentence commuted or reduced by any number of years, months, or days, or to make parole eligible, or to time served which would release the individual immediately.

Pardon - may be granted to those individuals who have maintained a good reputation in their community, following the completion of their sentence for a criminal offense.  Ordinarily, an applicant must wait to apply until at least five years have elapsed since the applicant was released from State supervision (including probation or parole).  A Pardon is merely an official statement attached to the criminal record that states that the State of North Carolina has pardoned the crime.

A Pardon does not expunge or erase a criminal record. Under the North Carolina Constitution, the Executive Branch does not have the authority to expunge a criminal record.  The Judicial Branch handles the process of expungement that clears an individual's criminal record pursuant to N.C.G.S. 15A-145, 146 and 149.  An individual would need to contact an attorney of their choice to pursue expungement of a criminal record through the Judicial System.

 There are three types of Pardons:

Pardon of Forgiveness – Pardon most frequently requested.  The Pardon basically states that the individual has been pardoned and forgiven of their criminal conviction.  This Pardon is granted with certain conditions.

Pardon of Innocence – Pardon granted when an individual has been convicted and the criminal charges are subsequently dismissed.  Application for this type of Pardon allows an individual to petition the Governor for a declaration of innocence when the individual has been erroneously convicted and imprisoned and later determined to be innocent.  In such cases where this Pardon is granted, an individual is allowed to seek compensation from the State.  Please refer to N.C.G.S. 148-82, regarding Provision for Compensation and N.C.G.S. 148-84, regarding Evidence; Action by Industrial Commission; Payment and Amount of Compensation.

Unconditional Pardon – Pardon granted primarily to restore an individual’s right to own or possess a firearm.  This Pardon is granted without any conditions or restrictions.

Probation - A suspended sentence of imprisonment contingent on the observance of conditions set forth by the court, violation of which empowers the court to revoke the suspension and activate the prison or jail sentence

Suspended sentence - a necessary part of probation, an active prison or jail sentence to be served if the conditions of probation are violated and probation is revoked

Terms and data elements used on Dept. of Public Safety 
public access information pages
Activity Type: Indicates if the offender's activity assignment is a program.
Age: The current age of the offender.
Conviction Date: The date the court imposed the most serious sentence.
Current Location: If the offender status is active, current location is the facility that has custody of an offender. If the offender status is inactive or paroled, current location is the county or state where the offender was paroled or released.
Custody: The offender's custody classification. The custody assignments are:
Minimum 1
Minimum 2
Minimum 3
Birth Date: The birth date of the offender.
In Process: Data has been entered but the time calculations have not been done.
Sentence Length: The sum of all consecutive sentences in Year/Month/Day format.
Name: The offender's full name.
N/A: Information not available.
Non Public Information: Information deemed not public by the Attorney General of North Carolina.
DOC Number: This is a unique number that identifies an offender.
Offense Description: A description of the crime. Because of space constraints some crime descriptions have been reduced. Following are some of the more cryptic:
AWDW -Assault With Deadly Weapon
AWDWISI - Assault With Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury
AWDWWIKISI - Assault With Deadly Weapon With Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury
POSS WITS SCHEDULE II -Possession With Intent to Sell Schedule II
Offense Qualifier: Indicator of what role the offender played during the commission of the offense. The eleven possibilities are:
Conspiracy to Attempt
Accessory Before Fact
Accessory to Attempt
Accessory After Fact
Solicit to Attempt
Outstanding Detainers: Indicates if the offender has any outstanding detainers.
Parole Date: The date an offender was Paroled by the Department of Correction.
Pre-Sentence Diagnostic: The offender has been convicted of a crime but not sentenced by the court. The North Carolina Department of Correction is preparing diagnostic reports at the request of the court to help determine the appropriate sentence.
Processing Incomplete: New admission record where data has not been entered and/or verified.
Program Description: The description of the program activity the inmate is assigned.
Projected Release Date: The estimated date an active offender will be released from the Department of Correction.
Race: The offender's race.
Release Date: The date an inactive offender was released from the Department of Correction.
Sentencing County: The sentencing county for the most serious offense.
Gender: The gender of the offender.
Status: The status of an offender's record. The possible values are:
Total Escapes this Term: The total number of escapes during the period of incarceration.
Total Infractions: The total number of infractions during the period of incarceration.

Governor's Clemency Office
  4294 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C.  27699-4294
Phone: 919-715-1695
Fax: 919-715-8623