Information for Families
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project?
The NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project is a program designed to help to recruit, train, and provide resource support to pro bono attorneys assisting state prisoners submit petitions to have their sentences commuted.
What is Clemency?
Executive clemency, which is vested in either the governor or some other executive branch authority, is a power to reduce a sentence of a person currently in prison.
My loved one is serving a sentence for a federal conviction. Can they apply?
The NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project is focused on individuals serving state sentences. For information on federal clemency, you can find information on the Office of the Pardon Attorney’s website at https://www.justice.gov/pardon.
In which states is the project active?
We launched a partnership Governor Cuomo in the state of New York.
My loved one is serving in a different state, what should I do?
Even if there is not an initiative with the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project, your loved one can still apply for clemency. You should check the state government’s website for the process to apply for clemency.
What are the requirements for the New York Initiative and how does my loved one apply?
The eligibility information and the process to apply is available on the New York state website at http://www.ny.gov/services/apply-clemency.
How much does my loved one have to pay for help?
The NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project attorneys provide pro bono assistance, which means there is no charge to applicants or their families.
Can you tell me if you have received a request from my loved one?
No. For privacy reasons we cannot provide information to anyone other than the applicant.
Should I call periodically to check up on the progress of my loved one’s application?
No. For privacy reasons we cannot provide information to anyone other than the applicant. Also, this slows the process down.
How long will the process take?
It depends. Before a petition can be filed, an attorney must review documents from your loved one’s case. Some documents may be archived or otherwise difficult to locate. Once the documents are located, an attorney can analyze whether your loved one meets the criteria and provide advice about how to proceed.