The Disturbing Lack of Latinas on Obama’s Clemency List
Date:  01-19-2016

Surely there are a number of Latinas in federal prison who deserve clemency
Jason Hernandez is grateful that he was the first Latino granted clemency by President Obama in 2013. Now he wonders why no Latinas have been granted the same second-chance in the seven years Obama has been in office. His impassioned article calling for clemency for Latinas posted by Fusion on January 15, 2016 appears below.

Why hasn’t President Obama granted clemency to a single Latina inmate?

Last month, President Obama announced a new series of pardons and commutations for federal prisoners, just like he has for the past three years, just before the First Family leaves for their Christmas vacation.

Since he took office, Obama has commuted the sentences of 184 federal prisoners, many of whom were sentenced to life without parole for nonviolent drug crimes. After the most recent round last month, he has now commuted more inmates than the last five presidents combined.

On December 19, 2013, I was one of the people he chose. At the time, I was serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug crime. In total, I spent 17 years behind bars for a crime committed at age 21. I was the first Latino man to receive clemency from President Obama, and I will be eternally grateful that he gave me a second chance.

But I’m baffled that of the 184 individuals who have received his mercy in the last seven years, not one has been a Latina. Latinas make up about 17% of the U.S. population and 33% of the women’s federal prison population. They are three times more likely to go to prison than white women. And the number of Latinos sent to federal prison nearly quadrupled between 1991 and 2007. There’s no shortage of worthy Latina candidates for a presidential clemency. Read more