reprieve | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Corrections

A reprieve is a temporary delay or suspension of punishment or sentence granted by an executive authority or court in the criminal justice context.

Reprieve is a legal concept that allows for a temporary delay or suspension of punishment or sentence in the criminal justice system. Reprieve can be granted by an executive authority, such as a governor or the President of the United States, or by a court.

The purpose of a reprieve is to provide temporary relief from punishment or sentence, usually to allow for further review or consideration of the case. In some cases, a reprieve may be granted to allow an inmate to receive medical treatment or attend to personal affairs. Reprieve is distinct from clemency, which is the complete or partial forgiveness of a sentence.

Reprieve can take many forms, such as a temporary stay of execution for a death row inmate, a delay in the start of a prison sentence, or a temporary release from incarceration. The length of a reprieve can vary from a few days to several months or even years.

In the United States, a reprieve is typically granted by executive authorities, such as governors or the President, who have the power to commute or suspend sentences. Reprieve can also be granted by courts, particularly in cases where further review or consideration is necessary.

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Last Modified: 03/14/2023


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