As if we needed another reminder that President Obama is not a progressive on criminal justice issues, Pro Publica crunches the numbers and finds that he's worse on pardons and commutations than even his Republican predecessors:
Obama has parceled out forgiveness far more rarely than his recent predecessors, pardoning just 22 individuals while denying 1,019.
He has given pardons to roughly 1 of every 50 individuals whose applications were processed by the Justice Department. At this point in his presidency, Ronald Reagan had pardoned 1 of every 3 such applicants. George H.W. Bush had pardoned 1 in 16. Bill Clinton had pardoned 1 in 8. George W. Bush had pardoned 1 in 33.
Obama also has been stingy with commutations, applications for early release by those still serving federal prison sentences.
Under Reagan and Clinton, applicants for commutations had a 1 in 100 chance of success. Under George W. Bush, that fell to a little less than 1 in 1,000. Under Obama, an applicant's chance is slightly less than 1 in 5,000.
UPDATE: P.S. Ruckman, Jr., who has worked with Reason on pardon and commutation stories in the past, emails to say that he crunched these numbers over the summer, and put them in a handy chart: