Kim Kardashian West Returns to White House to Advocate for Prisoner
Kim Kardashian West returned to the White House last week to meet with some of President Trump’s senior aides to discuss criminal justice reform. Kardashian West successfully pressed the Trump administration for the pardon of 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson earlier this year.
Kardashian West learned of Johnson’s story after seeing a video on news outlet Mic. In 1996, Johnson was convicted in Tennessee and sentenced to life in prison for nonviolent federal drug and money-laundering charges. Johnson became involved in the drug trade after losing her job with FedEx due to a gambling addiction, a divorce, and the death of her youngest son in a motorcycle accident.
Three requests were made on Johnson’s behalf for commutation of her prison sentence during President Obama’s eight years in office. Each time, the Justice Department recommended denying Johnson’s request. Kardashian West became involved during Trump’s presidency, and called Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to advocate on Johnson’s behalf. President Trump later granted clemency to Johnson, and her sentence was commuted and she was released from prison.
Kardashian West is now advocating on behalf of Chris Young, another Tennessee prisoner serving a life sentence on drug charges. Young, who is 30 years old, has served almost 10 years of his life sentence. Unlike Johnson, who had no previous drug charges, Young had prior convictions for marijuana possession and marijuana with less than half a gram of cocaine possession that resulted in a life sentence under three strike sentencing laws.
The judge responsible for Young’s sentencing, former U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp, stepped down from the bench in part because of his disagreement with mandatory minimum sentences. In a 2017 interview, Judge Sharp stated his intention to work to get Young’s sentence commuted.
Kardashian West has been working with Trump advisor and son-in-law Kushner on criminal justice reform. She and other government officials discussed clemency issues and advocated for prison and sentencing reform at this week’s meeting.
Johnson served nearly 22 years in prison, and missed the birth of her six grandchild and the death of her parents during her sentence. Young suffers from sickle cell anemia and has difficulty receiving appropriate medical care in prison and has recently been housed in a medical facility.
Kardashian West has indicated that she will continue to advocate on Young’s behalf in the hopes that his sentence will be commuted and he will be released from prison.
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