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The Missouri governor is granting pardons at a pace not seen since the World War II era

by Andrew Wright
1 comment
Pardons

The current governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, has been making headlines for his significant pace of granting pardons, a trend not seen in the state since World War II. This newfound reputation for mercy has stirred conversation, given Parson’s previous role as a rural sheriff responsible for enforcing justice.

One of the individuals who benefited from Parson’s clemency is Kenny Batson, whose troubled youth led to a series of criminal activities, including theft, substance abuse, and even a violent assault at the age of 20. Now, at the age of 50, Batson has undergone a remarkable transformation and is a Christian pastor. His story serves as an example of the power of redemption.

Governor Parson, despite his belief in the importance of law and order, has taken a more compassionate approach to criminal justice. He has granted over 600 pardons in the past three years, surpassing any previous Missouri governor since the 1940s. Parson acknowledges that individuals can change and that a criminal label doesn’t necessarily define a person for life.

This trend of pardons is not limited to Missouri. Across the nation, there is a growing movement to restore the rights and reputations of individuals who have completed their sentences. For instance, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, recently set a new state record for the number of pardons granted.

Minnesota has also revised its clemency process to potentially increase the number of pardons. At the federal level, President Joe Biden has issued pardons for thousands of individuals convicted of marijuana possession, encouraging governors to follow suit.

This movement represents a shift away from the tough-on-crime policies of the late 20th century, harkening back to an earlier era when pardons and commutations were more common. Each state has its own clemency process, with commutations shortening sentences and pardons offering official forgiveness and the restoration of rights.

For individuals like Kenny Batson, receiving a pardon can be life-changing. It erases the stigma of a felony conviction and offers a fresh start. In Missouri, the clemency process involves a careful evaluation of applicants’ backgrounds, including their work, education, community involvement, character references, and remorse for their crimes.

Governor Parson inherited a backlog of nearly 3,700 clemency applications when he took office, but his administration has been systematically addressing them. To date, he has granted 613 pardons and 20 commutations while denying about 2,400 requests.

The impact of Parson’s actions is significant. Missouri is now considered one of 16 states where pardons are granted frequently or regularly. Having a predictable schedule for announcing pardons helps build public confidence in the process, ensuring transparency and fairness.

In Wisconsin, Governor Evers has also embraced this approach by providing summaries of each person’s crimes and accomplishments alongside pardon announcements. While Parson has only publicized the names of those granted clemency, details of their criminal histories are available through open-records requests.

The types of crimes for which individuals have been pardoned vary, with drug offenses, theft, and burglary being the most common. On average, nearly 28 years had passed since their last convictions.

Governor Parson’s pardoning decisions have not been without controversy, including the high-profile pardon of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who brandished firearms at racial injustice protesters. However, Parson emphasizes that community testimonials and evidence of transformed character play a crucial role in his decisions.

In conclusion, the wave of pardons and commutations in Missouri, led by Governor Mike Parson, reflects a broader movement in the United States to grant individuals a second chance after serving their sentences. It challenges the notion that past mistakes should define a person’s entire life and underscores the power of redemption and rehabilitation in the criminal justice system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Pardons

What is the significance of Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s pardoning pace?

Governor Mike Parson’s pardoning pace in Missouri is significant as it surpasses any seen since World War II. He has granted over 600 pardons in the past three years, marking a shift towards a more compassionate approach to criminal justice.

How does the clemency process work in Missouri?

In Missouri, clemency requests are first screened by the Board of Probation and Parole, which makes confidential recommendations to the governor. There is no set deadline for the governor to make a decision. The evaluation considers factors such as work history, education, community involvement, character references, and remorse for the crimes committed.

What types of crimes are individuals being pardoned for in Missouri?

Individuals in Missouri are being pardoned for a range of crimes, with drug offenses, theft, and burglary being the most common. On average, nearly 28 years had passed since their last convictions.

How has Governor Parson’s approach affected Missouri’s standing in terms of pardons?

As a result of Governor Parson’s actions, Missouri is now categorized as one of 16 states that grant frequent or regular pardons. Having a predictable schedule for announcing pardons has helped enhance transparency and public confidence in the process.

Is this trend of increasing pardons limited to Missouri?

No, this trend is not limited to Missouri. It is part of a broader national movement to restore the rights and reputations of individuals who have completed their sentences. Other states like Wisconsin and Minnesota have also seen an increase in pardons and clemency actions. President Joe Biden has encouraged governors to issue pardons at the federal level.

How has receiving a pardon impacted individuals like Kenny Batson?

Receiving a pardon has been life-changing for individuals like Kenny Batson. It erases the stigma of a felony conviction and offers a fresh start, allowing them to rebuild their lives and regain a sense of self-worth.

Are Governor Parson’s pardoning decisions without controversy?

Governor Parson’s pardoning decisions have not been without controversy, with some high-profile cases drawing attention. However, he emphasizes that community testimonials and evidence of transformed character play a crucial role in his decisions.

What is the broader message conveyed by this trend in criminal justice?

This trend in criminal justice represents a shift away from the tough-on-crime policies of the late 20th century. It underscores the belief that individuals can change and that past mistakes should not define a person’s entire life. It highlights the power of redemption and rehabilitation in the criminal justice system.

More about Pardons

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1 comment

CuriousGeorge November 24, 2023 - 6:07 pm

Wait, so ppl r gettin’ pardond 4 real? Dats surprisin’!

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