Definition - What does Commutation mean?
Commutation is when a criminal's sentence is changed from one punishment to another. Generally, the punishment that replaces the original punishment is less severe. For example, with a commutation, a convicted murderer's sentence may be changed from death to life in prison.
Commutations are not the same thing as pardons.
Justipedia explains Commutation
Generally speaking, if a commutation occurs, it is beneficial to the convicted criminal. This is because it means that they will not have to face as severe a sentence. This could mean that instead of facing 10 years in prison, the convicted criminal will now only have to face five. Or, if the person was going to be fined $10,000, they might now only be fined $5,000.
The government decides whether or not a commutation is appropriate.