Although the Obama administration is often criticized for their liberal views, it comes as a shock to some that he has one of the lowest pardon rates in recent administration history, Around the same time in Bill Clinton’s presidency he had already pardoned one in every eight applicant that applied for the program. George W. Bush had already pardoned one in every 33 (which at the time seemed like a bad record as well), Obama however has only pardoned one in every 50 applicants.
The total pardons that Obama issued also fell short of Clinton’s record. Clinton granted 396 pardons and 61 commutations over his eight year presidency. Obama has only given 39 pardons over five years and just one commutation.
Obama’s reluctance to issue more pardons is surprising considering his Justice Department is serious about their “smart on crime” campaign that is supposed to relieve the prison of non-violent offenders. He also has been serious about affirming the constitutional powers of the president especially with a currently aggressive congress,
It should be noted the president signed a law that shortened the mandatory minimums on crack offenses. He also reduced the use of mandatory minimums against drug defendants who are non-violent. These laws are leaving people to question why similar laws weren’t made for inmates who are stuck in jail for other non-violent crimes.
Some people request that the president should develop a wider communication and pardon inmates that have serve a certain amount of their sentences. Some critics say he should give the job to another attorney rather than relying on the attorney currently in charge. Rodgers was also the pardon attorney with the Bush administration.
Many people think that the scandalous pardons in the past have kept the President from making an effort to pass any new ones.