top of page

About the Author

Jason Hernandez was sentenced to life without parole plus 320 years for a nonviolent drug offense in 1998 at the age of 21. While incarcerated, Jason became a “jailhouse attorney” and began litigating on his behalf along with others incarcerated with him. In 2011, 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.

On December 19, 2013, Jason became one of the first to receive clemency from President Obama: known as the “Obama 8.” Since his release in 2015, Jason has assisted over half a dozen individuals receive clemency through the Obama and Trump Administration: six of whom were serving life without parole. He has become a leading voice and advocate for criminal justice reform. Jason has written for and appeared in media outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times, MSNBC, and CNN.

Jason has been a recipient of a Latino Justice Fellowship, Soros Justice Fellowship, JLUSA Fellowship and was awarded the Volunteer of the Year in his city for the work he does with students. He is currently working on his memoir and creating a Leadership Program for Latino High School Students in his hometown of McKinney.


If you are interested in having Jason speak at your school, university, conference, or prison, you can email him at You can also find him on Instagram.


Jason in the Media


The Power of Clemency

The New York Times

Photo credit: Can Turkyilmaz


Hopeless to Hopeful

Fort Worth Weekly

Photo credit: Madeleina Gorman

Contact Jason for a
Speaking Engagement: 
bottom of page