OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Florida Commission on Offender Review

Clemency

What is the purpose of clemency?

Clemency is a constitutionally authorized process through which a convicted felon may seek restoration of their civil rights.  When a person is convicted of a felony, they lose the right to vote, sit on a jury, hold public office, and possess a firearm in Florida. There are several forms of clemency, including full pardon; pardon without firearm authority; and commutation of sentence. The Florida Commission on Offender Review administers the clemency process through which an offender may have some or all of their rights restored.
The discretion to grant clemency is vested in the Board of Executive Clemency, which is composed of the Governor and the three members of the Florida Cabinet (Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, and Chief Financial Officer).

What are the eligibility criteria for civil rights restoration?

An offender may apply to have their civil rights restored under Florida law if they have not had an offense for a specified timeframe after completing all sentences and conditions of supervision.  In addition, the following requirements must be met: completion of all sentences imposed and all conditions of supervision expired or completed, including probation, community control, and conditional release; have no outstanding detainers or pending criminal charges; and payment of all restitution pursuant to a court order or civil judgment and obligations pursuant to Ch. 960, Florida Statutes. The rules regarding restoration of civil rights, including disqualifying crimes, such as murder, DUI manslaughter, and sexual battery are in the Rules of Executive Clemency.
Restoration of civil rights cases are divided into two categories. The first category, restoration of civil rights without a hearing, is designed to process less serious offenses and requires the offender to not be arrested for a misdemeanor or felony for five years since the date of completion of all sentences and conditions of supervision imposed. The second category, restoration of civil rights with a hearing, is designed to process more serious offenses and requires the applicant to wait seven years since the date of completion of all sentences and conditions of supervision imposed for all felony convictions.
In 2018, 361 people had their civil rights restored, compared to 518 people in 2017.

How has clemency changed?

In March 2011, the Board of Executive Clemency met for the purpose of amending the Rules of Executive Clemency.
  • All individuals seeking restoration of civil rights must submit an application. All applications will be reviewed individually by the Board of Executive Clemency and an automatic restoration will no longer be granted.
  • Waiting period waivers will no longer be granted for pardon or firearm authority applications.Individuals will no longer be permitted to apply for a pardon or firearm rights until they have been crime and arrest free for the time period set forth in the rules (ten years for pardons and eight years for firearm rights).

How are these activities funded?

Clemency activities are funded as part of the Florida Commission on Offender Review budget entity.
Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions
FLORIDA COMMISSION ON OFFENDER REVIEW
PROGRAM: POST-INCARCERATION ENFORCEMENT AND VICTIMS RIGHTS
11,905,596
132.00
TOTAL
11,905,596
132.00

Updates

In 2019 the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 2019-162, Laws of Florida, which made substantive changes to the Florida Election Code and implemented Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution, which was approved by voters in November 2018. This amendment restored the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment does not apply to those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses, who continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.  The law took the following actions: 
  • Specifies that completion of all terms of sentence means any portion of a sentence, including the following.
    • Nonmonetary-Release from any term of imprisonment, and release from any term of supervision including, but not limited to, probation, community control, or parole.
    • Monetary-Completion of victim restitution and any fines or fees ordered by the court as a condition of any form of supervision.  Completion defined as actual payment, the termination of such financial obligation by the court upon the payee's approval, or completion of all community service hours, if the court converts the financial obligation to community service.
  • Defines which offenses constitute murder and felony sexual offenses.
  • Establishes an eligibility verification process that provides that the Department of State makes the initial determination of whether the information is credible and reliable regarding whether a person is eligible to vote under Article VI, s. 4, of the Florida Constitution, and forwards the information to appropriate local supervisor of elections. The supervisor of elections verifies and makes the final determination whether a person who registers to vote is eligible, but they may request additional assistance from the Department of State.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Reports
Restoration of Civil Rights' Recidivism Report for 2017-18, Florida Commission on Offender Review, July 2019.
Reports and Publications, Florida Commission on Offender Review
The Auditor General reports on the Florida Commission on Offender Review operations are available on its website.
Websites of Interest
Florida Commission on Offender Review, Clemency Overview
Executive Office of the Governor, Clemency/Pardons
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Article IV, Section 8, Constitution of the State of Florida, and Ch. 947, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Julia McCall, Coordinator, Office of Executive Clemency, 850-488-2952 or 1-800-435-8286
Website