Does Reviewing Clemency Petitions Cost Too Much? Let’s Take a Second Look
Urban Institute
February 26, 2016

“Earlier this month, Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama, stated that the administration doesn’t have enough resources to review all the petitions for clemency that have come through its doors. While the president has granted clemency to 174 people in federal prison since he announced his initiative to commute lengthy sentences for people in federal prison for nonviolent drug offenses, over 9,000 petitioners are still awaiting a response.

“Reviewing those petitions doesn’t come cheap. The budget for the Office of the Pardon Attorney, the part of the Department of Justice responsible for overseeing the clemency process, came in at $3.9 million last fiscal year. And there are plans to spend even more before the president leaves office.”

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