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Pardon, parole, and extradition records

Creator: Kansas. Governor

Date: 1863-2010

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: RG 252 (See individual series descriptions)

Unit ID: 304804

Restrictions: Per K.S.A. 75-104, records of former governors who are still alive are closed until their deaths, unless the former governor orders that the records be opened. Certain records may still remain closed due to falling under exceptions to K.S.A. 45-221, the Open Records Act, or other statutes that generally or specifically affect the openness of public records. For more information regarding access to these records, contact reference staff.

Abstract: Requests, applications, correspondence, orders, and related records related to pardons, paroles, commutations of sentences, and other forms of clemency by governors of Kansas as well as extraditions of fugitives and accused criminals. Other records in this subgroup relating to pardons, parole, and extradition may include records of individual prisoners & prisons and reading files. Many of these records are from the office of the governor's pardon (later pardon and extradition) attorney.

Space Required/Quantity: [ca. 450 cubic ft.]

Title (Main title): Pardon, parole, and extradition records

Titles (Other):

  • Parole and extradition records
  • Extradition records
  • Records

Part of: Records of the Kansas Governor's Office.

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The power to pardon was granted to the governor in the Kansas constitution (article 1, section 7). The first action taken in the State of Kansas with regard to pardoning convicts in the penal institutions of the state, was in 1868, when the governor was given power to pardon any person convicted in any court in the state, against any law thereof, upon the terms and conditions prescribed in the pardon. The act provided that no pardon could be granted until notice of it had been given for two weeks in a newspaper published in the county where the person was convicted. The pardon was required to be in writing, and at each session of the legislature the governor was required to send a list to both the House and Senate of all persons pardoned by him since the preceding session. The governor also had the power to pardon a convict for good conduct, not more than ten days before the expiration of his term, without the notice provided in case of other pardons.

Up to 1885 the pardoning power was vested in the governor alone, but on February 27th of that year the Legislature passed an act "creating a board of pardons," to be appointed by the governor and to consist of three persons, at least one of whom was a lawyer, to hold office at the pleasure of the governor.

The system of early release of inmates, which we know today as “parole,” can be traced to as early as 1864. At that time the governor, vested with constitutional authority, enjoyed the power to commute or reduce an inmate’s sentence when deemed appropriate and advisable. To offer assistance to the governor, the 1885 Legislature created a Board of Pardons whose function was to review commutation or pardon applications and report their recommendations to the Governor. This was a three-person Board, which met four times per year at the State Capitol. Each member received five dollars per day for compensation.

In 1901, the Legislature again addressed the area of early release of inmates and empowered the governor to set certain inmates free under circumstances and conditions quite similar to today’s parole. In fact, this legislation was the first to ever use the word “parole.” The governor was required to make certain findings before authorizing an inmate’s release under this system. The governor had to be convinced that the inmate had served an adequate amount of time to be reformed. The governor also had to find that the inmate could be released without endangering the community and that the inmate could find suitable employment upon release.

As with today’s parole, conditions were attached to this privileged release. The inmate was required to report regularly to the warden, refrain from using intoxicating liquors and gambling, refrain from frequenting places where intoxicating liquor was sold or where gambling occurred and refrain from associating with criminals and unworthy associates. An inmate could be incarcerated for violating these conditions and might not again be released until the expiration of his sentence, a much stricter requirement than today.

It was not until 1903 that a release procedure was adopted that was independent of the governor’s power. The Legislature created a Prison Board comprised of the Board of Directors and the Warden of the Penitentiary.

In 1913, the Legislature authorized the governor to appoint a pardon clerk to handle pardon and presumably parole and extradition matters as well (L. 1913, ch. 1, § 3). In 1919, the governor was permitted to hire a pardon attorney for this work (L. 1919, ch. 284, § 1). Presumably pardon, parole, and extradition matters prior to 1913 were handled by the governor's personal secretary or another staff member in his office.

In 1937, the Legislature passed Kansas General Statutes 62-727 through 62-757 (1949) making the State a party to the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act.

It appears that the title of the pardon attorney was changed to the pardon and extradition attorney, perhaps in the 1960s. No evidence has been found that this change was codified by statute.

Scope and Content

Contents:
Absolute Pardons - Pardons, Paroles, And Commutation Requests (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193797)
Applications For Requisitions - Series I & II (http://www.kshs.org/archives/194090)
Applications for pardon (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193790)
Citizenship pardons (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193802)
Extraditions (http://www.kshs.org/archives/191789)
Governor's Citizenship Pardons - Chronological Order (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193707)
Jail and State Reformatory Pardons and Commutations (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193801)
Pardon and parole files : Womens' Industrial Farm (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193660)
Pardons (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193789)
Record Of Pardons And Commutations (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193793)
Restoration Of Citizenship Requests (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193762)

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


More separate components

Locators:

No Locators Identified

Related Records or Collections

Associated materials: Similar records may also be found in the records of individual gubernatorial administrations within this record group. Letters of support for individuals and initiatives, [ca. 1995]-2002 (ser. 199625), in the records of the governor's chief counsel may also contain relevant information.

Related materials: Legislative records, bill files, correspondence & telegrams, subject files, minutes, and official records of individual governors or the Office of the Governor spanning multiple administrations may also contain information on pardon, parole, and extradition matters.

Bibliography

Finding Aid Bibliography:

"Historical Overview of Kansas Paroling Authorities," Kansas Dept. of Corrections website: http://www.doc.ks.gov/prb/overview (accessed 24 July 2013).

"Pardons, Board of," in Blackmar, Frank W. Kansas; a Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent persons, etc. ... with a Supplementary Volume Devoted to Selected Personal History and Reminiscence. Chicago: Standard Pub. Co., 1912. v. 2, pp. 444-45; also on - line at Blue Skyways website: http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/archives/1912/p/pardons_board_of.html (accessed 25 July 2013).

Rausch, Fred W., Jr. "Extradition in Kansas," University of Kansas City Law Review, v. 28 (1959-60), pp. 150-59; also on - line at HeinOnline: http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/umkc28&div=18&g_sent=1&collection=journals (accessed 25 July 2013).

Index Terms

Subjects

    Kansas. Governor -- Archives
    Kansas -- Archives
    Executive power -- Kansas
    Extradition -- Kansas -- Archives
    Governors -- Kansas -- Powers and duties
    Pardon -- Kansas -- Archives
    Parole -- Kansas -- Archives

Creators and Contributors


Agency Classification:

    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Bailey, Willis Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Stanley, William Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Robinson, Charles Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Carney, Thomas Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Crawford, Samuel J. Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Green, Nehemiah Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Harvey, James Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Morrill, Edmund Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Lewelling, Lorenzo Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Humphrey, Lyman Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Martin, John Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Glick, George Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. St. John, John Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Osborn, Thomas Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Anthony, George Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Leedy, John Administration.

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: Per K.S.A. 75-104, records of former governors who are still alive are closed until their deaths, unless the former governor orders that the records be opened. Certain records may still remain closed due to falling under exceptions to K.S.A. 45-221, the Open Records Act, or other statutes that generally or specifically affect the openness of public records. For more information regarding access to these records, contact reference staff.