Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother who was serving a life sentence in prison for a non-violent drug offense, has been set free. On Wednesday, it was reported that President Donald Trump would grant clemency to Johnson, who has been in prison for a crime committed in the 1990s.
Business Insider reports that the move came one week after Trump met with reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, who has been advocating for her release for several months.
Talks between President Trump and Kim Kardashian came a short time after Kardashian's husband, rapper Kanye West, made waves in the media for his open support of President Trump.
Trump's decision did not come out of the blue, and it certainly didn't come about only because Kim Kardashian met with him to argue the case. Rather, Johnson's case has long been held up as an overwhelmingly worthy clemency candidate by legal experts and criminal justice reform advocates.
Johnson also petitioned President Obama for clemency three times, although she was denied every single time. This is despite the fact that she was a first-time offender, convicted of a non-violent crime, and still sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Johnson has been described as an extreme example of the type of harsh mandatory-minimum sentencing that emerged under the Republican Party in the 1980s and 1990s to punish drug crimes. She is also understood to embody the type of reformed and repentant prisoner with the skills and support to successfully enter back into society as a productive person.
Johnson was an ordained minister, playwright, mentor, counselor, tutor, and companion for inmates who were suicidal. Throughout her many years behind bars, she did not commit a single disciplinary infraction. Staff members at her prison were also supporting her clemency, according to Business Insider.
Holley had served over two decades of her sentence when Kardashian West first learned about this case. After learning about it online, the celebrity then went to Twitter to share her support with 60 million followers. According to Holley, Kardashian West's involvement was very important — although again, not the only factor — in attaining her freedom.
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