Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who said he is “at peace” with the 200-plus pardons he granted on his way out of office, said limiting pardon power in Mississippi would be “a very bad mistake,” reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. That’s exactly what some state leaders seek to do not only through a legal challenge from Attorney General Jim Hood, but also through legislation.
Some bills, supported by newly inaugurated Gov. Phil Bryant, could lead to constitutional amendments. Critics of Barbour’s clemency to 221 offenders, including 208 on his last day Jan. 10, have called his actions a travesty. Barbour said restrictions would eliminate an incentive for offenders to improve. “It takes away the power to give people hope or a reason to try harder,” Barbour said. Mick Bullock, Bryant’s spokesman, said the governor “will only pardon an individual when clear evidence exists that he should do so.”