The political upside of using the pardon power to correct miscarriages of justice, such as the one about locking Charles up again is big for Trump. Still criticized for his full page ad in the early 1990s calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, who as it turned out were not guilty, this is a great chance for Trump to move past that unfortunate incident. A widespread, systemic use of the pardon power is also in keeping with Trump’s preference for decisive action from his White House that does not need anyone else’s approval.
But there are risks. The first time someone who is pardoned by Trump commits a crime, particularly a violent one, he will come under harsh scrutiny, even if dozens or hundreds more live peaceful and fulfilling lives. This is a legitimate concern, but it may be that Trump’s very harsh rhetoric and actions on crime actually give him the latitude to survive such attacks.
Central to Trump’s leadership style and his appeal is that he believes there are problems that he alone can fix. Whether it is moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, ending the Iran deal, or pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, Trump stomps the terra where other presidents lightly tread. In the area of criminal justice, and cases where justice is not being served, that tenacity and courage can help hundreds of prisoners and their families, and the credit would belong to Trump.