Wednesday, January 11, 2012

***BREAKING*** - Barbour releases statement defending pardon; I tear it apart

The following is the text of a statement of Gov. Haley Barbour (R) regarding Pardongate. My commentary is in italics.

Some people have misunderstood the clemency process and think that all or most of the individuals who received clemency from former Gov. Haley Barbour were in jail at the time of their release. Generally, only the really dangerous ones were still in jail. Approximately 90 percent of these individuals were no longer in custody, and a majority of them had been out for years. Oh, like Harry Bostick? The pardons were intended to allow them to find gainful employment or acquire professional licenses as well as hunt and vote. Is that what you think Michael Graham uses a shotgun for? My decision about clemency was based upon the recommendation of the Parole Board in more than 90 percent of the cases. Well, I want to see the numbers, Haley. The Parole Board's disapproval sure didn't stop you from pardoning Tammy Gatlin's murderer. The 26 people released from custody due to clemency is just slightly more than one-tenth of 1 percent of those incarcerated. If you want to play a numbers game, Haley, why don't you compare your sheer number of pardons to those of Musgrove, Fordice, and Mabus? Let's even combine them all and multiply them by two. You still hold the Guiness world record for most pardons by a mile.

Half of the people who were incarcerated and released were placed on indefinite suspension due to medical reasons because their health care expenses while incarcerated were costing the state so much money. These individuals suffer from severe chronic illnesses, are on dialysis, in wheelchairs or are bedridden. What about the other half? You just felt like letting them go? They are not threats to society but if any of them commits an offense – even a misdemeanor – they’ll be returned to custody to serve out their term. Ah, good. But Haley you do know that the majority of the folks, you know the ones you pardoned, they're good to go, right? They can forget about the rest of their terms, regardless of whether or not they follow the law going forward.

Of the inmates released for medical reasons, a small number were placed on house arrest, and all still remain under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. OK, got it. I've heard plenty about the 13 folks you let out of jail on conditional release because they were sick. But what about the rest of them, Haley? We're all still waiting on you to explain those.

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