Jason Hernandez was sentenced to life without parole for a nonviolent drug crime in 1998 at the age of 21. While incarcerated Jason learned federal law and litigated his own appeals but to no avail. He became what is known as a “jailhouse attorney,” litigating on the behalf of other inmates. He also started the grassroots organization Crack Open The Door, which advocates for nonviolent crack cocaine offenders serving life without parole. In 2012, Jason Hernandez filed a petition for clemency. On December 19, 2013, President Obama commuted Jason’s sentence to twenty years. Jason was 38 when he was released on August 11, 2015. Since his release, he has worked steadily as a welder. He mentored formerly incarcerated youth and taught them cooking at a Cafe Momentum, a nonprofit restaurant in Dallas. Jason continues to advocate for nonviolent drug offenders serving life; helps prisoners and their families with the clemency process; has written about criminal justice reform for Fusion and other outlets; and speaks at schools, juvenile detention centers, courthouses, and colleges.
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