Connecticut laws on pardon and parole can be found in Part III, Chapter 961, Title 54 of Connecticut statutes. Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-124a, a Board of Pardons and Paroles is established within the Department of Correction. The board consists of not more than 25 members appointed by the Governor. The Governor appoints a chairperson from among the membership.
Duties of Board
The chairperson is the executive and administrative head of said board and shall have the authority and responsibility for (1) overseeing all administrative affairs of the board, (2) assigning members to panels, (3) establishing procedural rules for members to follow when conducting hearings, reviewing recommendations made by employees of the board and making decisions, (4) adopting policies in all areas of pardons and paroles including, but not limited to, granting pardons, commutations of punishments or releases, conditioned or absolute, in the case of any person convicted of any offense against the state and commutations from the penalty of death, risk-based structured decision making and release criteria, (5) consulting with the Department of Correction on shared issues including, but not limited to, prison overcrowding, (6) consulting with the Judicial Branch on shared issues of community supervision, and (7) signing and issuing subpoenas to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses at parole proceedings.
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has the independent decision-making authority to (1) grant or deny parole, (2) establish conditions of parole or special parole supervision, (3) rescind or revoke parole or special parole, (4) grant commutations of punishment or releases, conditioned or absolute, in the case of any person convicted of any offense against the state and commutations from the penalty of death.
The chairperson of the board must appoint an executive director. The executive director must oversee the administration of the agency and, at the discretion of the chairperson, must: (1) Direct and supervise all administrative affairs of the board, (2) prepare the budget and annual operation plan, (3) assign staff to administrative reviews, (4) organize pardons and parole release hearing calendars, (5) implement a uniform case filing and processing system, and (6) create programs for staff and board member development, training and education.
(j) The chairperson, in consultation with the executive director, must adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, concerning:
(1) Parole revocation and rescission hearings that include implementing due process requirements;
(2) An administrative pardons process that allows an applicant convicted of a crime to be granted a pardon with respect to such crime without a hearing, unless a victim of such crime requests such a hearing, if such applicant was:
(A) Convicted of a misdemeanor and (i) such conduct no longer constitutes a crime, (ii) such applicant was under twenty-one years of age at the time of conviction and has not been convicted of a crime during the five years preceding the date on which the pardon is granted, or (iii) such conviction occurred prior to the effective date of the establishment of a program for which the applicant would have been eligible had such program existed at the time of conviction, provided the chairperson determines the applicant would likely have been granted entry into such program; or
(B) Convicted of a violation of section 21a-277, 21a-278 or 21a-279 and such applicant has not been convicted of a crime during the five years preceding the date on which the pardon is granted, provided such date is at least ten years after the date of such conviction or such applicant’s release from incarceration, whichever is later; and
The Board of Pardons and Paroles holds a pardons hearing at least once every three months and holds such hearings in various geographical areas of the state. The board must not hold a pardons hearing within or on the grounds of a correctional facility except when solely for the benefit of applicants who are incarcerated at the time of such hearing.
Jurisdiction and Authority of Board
Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130a, jurisdiction over the granting of, and the authority to grant, commutations of punishment or releases, conditioned or absolute, in the case of any person convicted of any offense against the state and commutations from the penalty of death is vested in the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The board has authority to grant pardons, conditioned, provisional or absolute, for any offense against the state at any time after the imposition and before or after the service of any sentence. The board may accept an application for a pardon three years after an applicant’s conviction of a misdemeanor or violation and five years after an applicant’s conviction of a felony, except that the board, upon a finding of extraordinary circumstances, may accept an application for a pardon prior to such dates.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130a provides that whenever the board grants an absolute pardon to any person, the board must cause notification of such pardon to be made in writing to the clerk of the court in which such person was convicted, or the Office of the Chief Court Administrator if such person was convicted in the Court of Common Pleas, the Circuit Court, a municipal court, or a trial justice court.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130a provides that whenever the board grants a provisional pardon to any person, the board must cause notification of such pardon to be made in writing to the clerk of the court in which such person was convicted. The granting of a provisional pardon does not entitle such person to erasure of the record of the conviction of the offense or relieve such person from disclosing the existence of such conviction as may be required.
Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130d, at a session held by the Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider whether to grant a commutation of punishment or release, conditioned or absolute, a commutation from the penalty of death or a pardon, conditioned or absolute, to any person convicted of any crime, the board must permit any victim of the crime for which the person was convicted to appear before the board to make a statement for the record concerning whether the convicted person should be granted such commutation, release, or pardon.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130d provides that if the Board of Pardons and Paroles is prepared to grant a commutation of punishment or release, conditioned or absolute, a commutation from the penalty of death or a pardon, conditioned or absolute, to a person convicted of an offense involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person or resulting in the physical injury, serious physical injury or death of another person, it must make reasonable efforts to locate and notify any victim of the crime prior to granting such a commutation, release, or pardon. The board must permit such victim to appear before the board and make a statement or submit a statement.
Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130e, the Board of Pardons and Paroles may issue a provisional pardon to relieve an eligible offender of barriers or forfeitures by reason of such person’s conviction of the crime or crimes specified in such provisional pardon. Such provisional pardon may be limited to one or more enumerated barriers or forfeitures or may relieve the eligible offender of all barriers and forfeitures. The Board of Pardons and Paroles may, in its discretion, issue a provisional pardon to an eligible offender upon verified application of such person. The board may issue a provisional pardon at any time after the sentencing of an eligible offender.
The board must not issue a provisional pardon unless the board is satisfied that:
1) The person to whom the provisional pardon is to be issued is an eligible offender;
2) The relief to be granted by the provisional pardon may promote the public policy of rehabilitation of ex-offenders through employment; and
3) The relief to be granted by the provisional pardon is consistent with the public interest in public safety and the protection of property[i].
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130e provides that the board may, for the purpose of determining whether such provisional pardon should be issued, request its staff to conduct an investigation of the applicant and submit to the board a report of the investigation. Any written report submitted to the board must be confidential and not disclosed except where required or permitted by any provision of the general statutes or upon specific authorization of the board. If a provisional pardon is issued by the board while an eligible offender is on probation or parole, the provisional pardon is deemed to be temporary until the person completes such person’s period of probation or parole. During the period that such provisional pardon is temporary, the board may revoke such provisional pardon for violation of the conditions of such person’s probation or parole.
[i] Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-130e.