Statistical Analysis of Presidential Pardons

Published in: Bureau of Justice Statistics website (2021)

by Nicholas M. Pace, James M. Anderson, Shamena Anwar, Danielle Schlang, Melissa A. Bradley, Amalavoyal V. Chari

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This report was produced by RAND Corporation for BJS under award number 2012-MU-CX-K045. It is a study of pardon-petition evaluations performed by the Office of the Pardon Attorney (PARDON, formerly OPA), a unit in the Department of Justice. PARDON processes thousands of requests for executive clemency each year. RAND conducted a statistical examination of how PARDON screens incoming petitions, investigates the facts underlying the petitions, and evaluates the merits of petitions when crafting recommendations to the President to grant or deny a pardon. Data were analyzed for any patterns in PARDON decisions that indicated racial or ethnic bias.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.