Barack Obama's Clemency to Federal Prisoners 

For Every Granted Petition, 108 were Denied or Closed. The Current US President Scores Worse Than Any Other Since 1900.



Barack Obama recently granted clemency to 46 prisoners condemned for drug offences. Last year, the Obama administration also rolled out a New Clemency Initiative, designed to "foster equity in criminal sentencing by considering clemency requests from as many as thousands of federal inmates". 

Yet, the president has the worse record in US history (since 1900) for clemency concessions. On average, the President granted one clemency petition per month of office. While 150 a month were denied / closed. George Bush Jr. and Sr. come second in terms of low monthly rates, yet they still granted double the number of petitions than the current US President.

NOTE: The original data comes from the Department of Justice, and has been lastly updated on July 10th, 2015. It thus still doesn't include the 46 drug offenders whose sentences were commuted on July 14th, 2015. We will update the data as soon as the DOJ does.

Barack Obama's poor clemency statistics are worsened by the fact that the President has received way more requests than any other president. Excluding pending requests from previous administrations, Obama received almost 20,000 petitions from inmates. As of July 2014, the president has taken some action on 11,747 petitions since the start of his term. Only 107 were granted. The other 99% was either denied or closed.

Petitions Granted and Received by President



Percentage of Petitions Granted and Petitions Denied or Closed Without Presidential Action of all Petitions Decided Upon



Additionally, Obama didn't grant a single petition in the first 2 years of his term, beginning to do so only in 2011. And even then, in that year, he granted one petition for every 262 he denied or closed.

Breakdown of Clemeny Petitions per US President



In 2014, the President passed the New Clemency Initiative, which was intended to free thousands of inmates in prison because of nonviolent drug charges and unfair sentencing laws. In fact, the White House received 6,834 new petitions that year, almost 3x the amount of 2013. Yet this still has to be translated into anything visible. In 2014, only 5 more petitions were granted than 2013. In 2015, this number has risen to 45 total granted petitions so far. But this number is still very low. Consider that in 2008 Bush also had granted 46 clemency petitions, and that was before Obama's initiative.

Clemency Petitions per President: Denied or Closed Without Presidential Action, Granted, Received



In fact, Obama has the highest rate of denying / closing inmate's clemency petitions. Use the following interactive table to explore all the data.

Clemency by US Presidents 



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