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What is a Clemency Support Letter?


Clemency is a reduction, elimination or commutation of a sentence. Individuals who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to Life Without Parole in Louisiana may apply to the Board of Pardon and Parole asking that they recommend to the Governor a commutation of the sentence to 99 years. Commutation is particularly important for survivors sentenced to Life Without Possibility of Parole (LWOP) — survivors who will never be eligible for parole from prison unless the courts or the Governor intervene. Once granted a recommendation it goes to the Governor’s desk for approval. Once the Governor gives his approval the survivor must then go back before the Board for a parole hearing. Historically, governors have granted very few commutations, but it is still an important avenue for survivors to seek executive clemency. Together Louisiana is currently developing a campaign for people serving LWOP in the Louisiana prisons.


Guide to Writing a Clemency/Commutation Support Letter:


  • Step 1: First, write a letter to Dwayne at this address or visit his website at to learn more about what he has experienced, his healing, and any accomplishments/activities made while incarcerated. This will help you customize your clemency support letter.

  • Step 2: Be sure to include Dwayne’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) number in the subject line of your letter.

  • Step 3: Make it clear in your first and last sentences that you support the board granting the him a clemency recommendation.

  • Step 4: To write your clemency support letter, please use the template provided on page 3.

  • Step 5: To support a Dwayne’s application for clemency, it is important to highlight his many accomplishments while incarcerated (i.e. self-help groups, positive disciplinary record, degrees achieved, leadership and mentorship roles, etc.).

  • Step 6: Letters may be typed or handwritten on one-side of the page only. Handwritten letters must be legible. Please do not use staples. Letters must include the survivors name and DOC number on top of each page and on the back of the envelope. Letters of support must be received in the Board office by March 16, 2023.

Where do I send my letter? Please mail your support letters to the following location:


Louisiana State Board of Pardon/Parole

Attn: Chairman Sheryl M. Ranatza

P.O. Box 94304

504 Mayflower Street

Baton Rouge, LA 70802


*Please also send a copy of your clemency letter to Dwayne’s for encouragement to the address below and to his daughter for his records to (

Dwayne Hill #294586

L.S.P Camp F. 3/U

Angola, LA 70712




  • What's the difference between a pardon and commutation? A pardon relieves an individual of all guilt for the crime committed, while a commutation reduces the sentence without exonerating the person.

  • Can a survivor sentenced to life in prison apply for clemency? Yes, a survivor sentenced to life may not apply until he has served 15 years from the date of sentence, unless he has sufficient evidence which would have caused him to have been found not guilty. The offender must also meet additional criteria.


Additional Information:


Governor’s office Overview of Pardons & Commutations:  commutation-of-sentence/




This letter is intended to be sent on behalf of a person/organization in support of Dwayne Hill’s clemency hearing. Please use this as a template while writing an original letter, print and sign before submitting.


Louisiana State Board of Pardon/Parole

Attn: Chairman Sheryl M. Ranatza

P.O. Box 94304

504 Mayflower Street

Baton Rouge, LA 70802


RE:  Dwayne Hill, #294586




Dear Louisiana Board of Probation and Parole,


[State who you are, what you do and how you know Dwayne Hill. i.e. relative, friend etc. Example follows.] My name is Kenterea Murphy, LCSW- BACS. I am currently the program Director of Cypress Bend Intensive Outpatient Program located in Bastrop, La. My profession has been rooted in behavior change and increasing positive outcomes. I am writing this letter in support of Dwayne Hill's upcoming hearing for clemency. I have not met Mr. Hill personally but I have definitely been greatly affected in a positive way by his biggest supporter, his daughter Medria Taylor Buford. [Add any details that you think would be helpful.]


[Add a couple of sentences about how long you’ve Dwayne and in what capacity. Describe the traits the he has that makes you believe the he will not pose an undue risk to society or violate parole conditions, tell stories and give specific details. Example follows.]  

I have known and worked with Mrs. Buford for over eight years. She is definitely the product of a legacy maker, meaning Mr. Hill. I can't imagine the tremendous joy and change that will result in his request being granted. His family has invested time, talent and many resources into this cause, this comes from a strong rooted love and belief that Mr. Hill deserves a chance to truly continue to affect society in so many ways. He definitely has contributed and changed his perspective towards increasing positive energy to those around him and beyond. I am sure many individuals have been in his predicament and have not taken the opportunity to touch others' lives in a positive way as he has.


[Mention any other external circumstances about why you support his clemency highlighting any of his many accomplishments! Example follows.]

Reading and hearing about all the accomplishments Mr. Hill has achieved with the time he has been given has been such an inspiration. He has set a pattern of dedication, and a true belief in community. I believe with all of his supporters and community resources Mr. Hill chances of posing an undue risk to society or violating his parole conditions are highly unlikely. As I stated in my introduction, I am a Clinical Social Worker and I truly believe in behavior patterns and change. Mr. Hill has proven a pattern of increasing his chances of success with utilizing the resources that have been presented to him and working and giving back to others, as well as keeping in contact with his family and most importantly not violating any current guidelines he has been giving, all increasing the probability of him continuing this behavior.


[Explain how you will support the Dwayne’s rehabilitation. Discuss what specifically you will do to assist him (e.g. provide housing, financial support, friendship, employment, transportation, emotional support, etc. Example follows.] I will support Mr. Hill encouragement, continuing to educate myself on his journey and perspective as well as being there for him and his family in any way I can to support him.        


[Conclude your letter, repeat that Dwayne has your support and quickly summarize why he should get clemency. Sign off with “Sincerely,” Example follows.] Again, I believe this is a chance for Mr. Hill to continue to prove has he been doing that given the chance, he will continue to affect his family, friends and community in a positive light. Mr. Hill has demonstrated all the signs that he plans on continuing the work he began and strengthening others from the inside out.




Sign Here





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