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Louisiana advocate for ex-inmates among those pardoned

January 20, 2021 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former federal prisoner who operates a Louisiana nonprofit aiding ex-inmates is among those pardoned in the final hours of the Trump administration.

Syrita Steib-Martin’s pardon was announced by the White House early Wednesday.

The Louisiana native pleaded guilty in 2000 to federal charges arising from her role in a burglary and arson at a car dealership in east Texas when she was 19. She was sentenced to 10 years.

After her release from prison, Steib-Martin founded Operation Restoration in New Orleans. The organization provides services for women adjusting to society after leaving prison.

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She’s also credited with helping draft legislation prohibiting Louisiana colleges from asking about criminal convictions on admission applications.

Another pardon recipient with a Louisiana connection: Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known as the New Orleans-born rapper Lil Wayne. The Grammy-winner was charged in Florida on Nov. 17 with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a federal offense that carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison. In the pardon, he was praised for his “commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks.”