Obama’s Clemency Rate Lowest in Recent Presidential History
Critics of President Barack Obama cannot fault him for being soft on convicted criminals, not when it comes to granting pardons and commutations.
Among recent U.S. presidents at the same point in their presidencies, Obama has issued the fewest pardons, according to a review by ProPublica.
Out of 1,041 requests since 2008, the president has pardoned only 22 people, for a rate of 1 in 50.
In comparison, Ronald Reagan pardoned 1 of every 3 applicants, George H.W. Bush 1 in 16, Bill Clinton 1 in 8 and George W. Bush 1 in 33.
Commutations, which allow for early release from prison, have been even more rare under Obama. To date, he has commuted just one sentence, which involved a woman dying of leukemia. Eugenia Jennings, who was convicted in 2001 of selling 13.9 grams of crack cocaine to a police informant and was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Obama decided to commute her sentence down to 10 years, allowing her to be released last December.
The chance of having a sentence commuted by Obama is 1 in 5,000. Under George W. Bush, it was about 1 in 1,000. Under Reagan and Clinton, it was 1 in 100.
To Learn More:
Obama Has Granted Clemency More Rarely than any Modern President (by Dafna Linzer, ProPublica)
Obama Issues First Commutation of Sentence (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Antiquated Computers Run U.S. Government, Including Emergency Nuclear Force Messaging on 1970s-Era Floppy Discs
- Federal Judge Issues Unusual Ruling Calling for Probation Instead of Prison in Drug Case, Citing Post-Conviction Consequences
- Big Oil Shareholders Reveal Support for Environmental Proposals, Even as They Reject Them
- Female CEOs Earn more than Males, but Make Up Only 5% of Executive Leaders
- Senate Bill Would Require Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns