Gov. Mike Parson deserves credit for the aggressive way his administration has worked to clear the state’s clemency request backlog.
To date, Parson has granted 168 pardons and 13 commutations and denied 1,134 requests for clemency. According to his office, he is on track to process more clemency applications than any other Missouri governor in the past 40 years.
In a news release, Parson said there were 3,500 clemency applications when he took office. As of September 2021, that number is down to 2,376.
Good for Parson. He is making clemency reviews a priority. He didn’t create the backlog; he inherited it. And he is doing something about it.
Reviewing clemency applications takes time for both the governor and his staff. It requires due diligence and thorough investigation to ensure the right call is made.
Parson, a former sheriff, is committed to rendering decisions to as many individuals as he possibly can in a timely manner, which hasn’t always been the case in previous administrations.
It’s still not fast enough for some critics, who want the governor to act on some high-profile cases.
Fair enough, but the governor’s intentional approach to clearing the clemency backlog is a breath of fresh air from previous administrations and demonstrates his commitment to this important issue. We call that progress.