Jason Hernandez was sentenced to life without parole plus 320 years for a nonviolent drug offense in 1998 at the age of 21. Fourteen years into his sentence, he started his own grass-roots organization in prison called Crack Open The Door, which advocated for crack cocaine offenders serving life without parole. In 2011, Jason prepared his own Petition for Commutation and sent it to President Obama, along with a letter, asking for his sentence to be reduced, becoming one of the first to receive clemency from President Obama. Since his release in 2015, Jason has assisted nearly a dozen individuals receive clemency through the Obama and Trump Administration, most of whom were serving life without parole.
Jason is considered an expert in the field of clemency and has appeared on media outlets such as The New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN. He also authored the Guidebook Get Clemency Now, which teaches people in prison and their families how to create robust clemency petitions. Jason has recently launched his own Leadership Initiative for Latino High School Students called ATLAST (Aspiring Texas Latinos Achieving Success Together), and is opening a nonprofit grocery store “La Tiendita” in his old neighborhood.