Gov. Pat Quinn has granted 179 clemency requests after going through 604 petitions filed since 2008.
The Chicago Democrat typically makes such announcements ahead of holidays and issued a Christmas Eve statement saying he's also denied 425 petitions.
Quinn still has roughly 3,000 petitions with just weeks left before Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner is sworn in.
Quinn inherited thousands of cases from predecessor ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. A spokeswoman says Quinn has nearly eliminated the backlog, but there's been a surge of new petitions.
During his six-year tenure, Quinn has acted on nearly 4,000 clemency petitions. That's more than several recent governors. In total, he's granted 1,418.
The Democrat's office says those granted clemency recently underwent criminal background checks.
Those granted pardons can seek expungement of their convictions through the courts.