Change and adaptation best characterize the history of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. The State of Arizona first afforded inmates the opportunity for parole in 1901. The Board of Control functioned as the state's discretionary releasing mechanism and consisted of the Governor, Territorial Auditor, and one citizen appointed by the Governor. The Board of Control retained its releasing authority until the first criminal code became effective in October of 1913.
In 1913, the Legislature established the Board of Pardons and Paroles, which assumed the discretionary releasing function of its predecessor, the Board of Control. Board membership consisted of a citizen appointed by the Governor to serve as Board chairperson, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Attorney General. Board composition remained unchanged for the next five decades.
The Legislature expanded Board membership to five part time members in 1966. The Governor appointed all members to five year terms. In 1968, the Legislature amended this expansion and created a Board comprised of three full time members. The Governor appointed all members to three year terms and the appointments became subject to Senate confirmation. A full decade passed before the Board experienced a change in its composition.
In 1978, the Legislature increased the Board size to five full members. The appointments were to five-year terms and remained subject to Senate confirmation. The legislative action coincided with the passage of the new Criminal Code.
The Legislature again expanded Board membership to seven full-time members in 1984.
In 1993, Legislation passed which eliminated Board releases for inmates whose offense was committed after January 1, 1994. In addition, the Board's name changed from Board of Pardons and Paroles to the Board of Executive Clemency.