Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Louisiana: It Takes More Than a Board reports that, in the final week of his administration, Gov. Jindal has decided to grant 20 pardons and 1 commutation of sentence. The grants brought the total for his governorship to 83, in eight years. Quite pitiful. Perhaps, in preparation for his run for the presidency, Jindal pardoned no one in 2015. also reports the aggregate data are "far lower than his predecessors."
Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco granted clemency to 285 offenders in her four years in office, and former Gov. Mike Foster issued pardons to 455 people in his eight years. 
It was not that recommendations were not being made by the State's pardon board. It was more a matter of Jindal routinely ignoring the recommendations of those who knew more about applications than anyone else. Jindal granted a mere 11 percent of the recommendations for clemency that he received. By contrast, Blanco and Foster granted 86 and 65 percent respectively.

Jindal is reported to have "defended" his record on the ground that "Louisiana families and communities" deserve "safety" - a particularly bone-headed "defense" since pardons merely restore the rights of persons who, more often than not, committed minor / non-violent offenses many years (if not decades) ago.

He also offers that recommendations are reviewed "on a case-by-case basis" (Good God, we would hope so!) and the "impact" of pardons on "victims, law enforcement officials, and the communities where these individuals are from" is also considered. We are all left to suppose that the Board recommending pardons has, in Jindal's view, overlooked / ignored all of these things 89 percent of the time. How easy it is to suspect that was not the case. See more on this story here.

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