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The Boston Globe

Ideas

The untapped power of presidential pardons

President Obama is ignoring one of his most effective tools, some experts say.

Earlier this month, President Obama issued pardons to 17 people convicted of felonies, among them a Tennessee man sentenced to 18 months of probation after forging a money order in 1961, a Nebraska man convicted of illegally acquiring food stamps in 1994, and a Hawaii woman who faced deportation to China in 1996 after helping people cheat on their citizenship applications.

The move brings the total number of pardons Obama has granted since entering office to just 39. This gives him the lowest clemency rate of any US president in recent history, according to data compiled by ProPublica, which has published several extensive reports on the modern pardon process.

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