“Although Biden waited more than 15 months before issuing any pardons or commutations, that delay compares favorably to those of many previous presidents. Even Barack Obama, who ultimately granted a record 1,715 commutations, did not approve any until the last year of his first term, and then just one. Obama did not get serious until the third year of his second term, and the vast majority of his commutations came during his last year in office.
That sort of timing is typical. Presidents tend to treat clemency as an afterthought rather than an ongoing process of correcting injustices, partly because they figure any political backlash against their decisions will be limited if they make them on their way out the door. Biden evidently anticipates that the net political impact of freeing nonviolent drug offenders will be positive, which is a good sign.”