Rauner eliminates clemency backlog; some cases dated to 2003

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CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has eliminated a backlog of more than 2,000 clemency requests he inherited from previous administrations.

Rauner said Monday that acting on the requests is part of his effort to improve Illinois’ criminal justice system and help people convicted of crimes go on to lead productive lives.

The Republican granted about 80 pardons out of more 2,300 applications he’s acted on since taking office in 2015. That’s about 3 percent of all cases.

The backlog piled up under now-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who acted on roughly 1,000 cases in about six years.

Blagojevich’s successor, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, acted on almost 5,000 cases, granting more than one-third of those requests.

Most of the pardons Rauner granted were for non-violent crimes such as forgery, drugs or theft.