Kim Kardashian West is receiving thousands of letters from inmates every day asking for help. The reality star has been using her platform to bring more awareness to criminal justice reform. Cyntoia Brown’s story is already a topic of national conversation, but she’s not the only one Kardashian West has helped free.
After Brown’s freedom was announced Monday, Jan. 7, Kardashian West received thousands of letters and notes from prisoners across the country asking for help from her legal team, according to TMZ. Within the prison system, Kardashian West has also earned a new name with prisoners and prison staff members calling her the “Princess of Prison Reform.”
Kardashian West played a key role in Brown’s case by enlisting a legal team in 2017, that includes top-notch lawyer Shawn Holley. Before that, the Nashville city council urged courts to overturn Brown’s life sentence. After serving 15 years, Brown was granted clemency.
Last year, Kardashian West met with President Donald Trump to discuss the release of Alice Marie Johnson, who was sentenced to life in prison for a first-time, non-violent drug offense. Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother, was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence plus 25 years after being convicted in a drug trafficking and money laundering case. She was arrested in 1993 and has been in prison since Oct. 1996. Johnson was not eligible for parole.
Kardashian West saw the story and tweeted: “This is so unfair.”
This is so unfair… https://t.co/W3lPINbQuy
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 26, 2017
After learning about Johnson’s story, Kardashian West contacted Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who informed her husband, Jared Kushner, according to Vanity Fair. Kushner is Trump’s senior advisor.
At the time, Kushner was working on a prison reform initiative that would provide programs teaching life skills, morals, and academics, offer drug addiction treatment, prison jobs, mentoring, and more to all federal inmates. It would also allow many non-violent offenders with low risk of recidivism to spend the last part of their sentences in alternative detention such as home confinement, halfway houses, and community supervision.
After a few months back and forth with Kushner, the Trump-Kardashian meeting took place on May 30.
After the meeting, Kardashian West thanked Trump on twitter and said she and others were “optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she—and so many like her—will get a second chance at life.” Kardashian West also visited a woman’s detention center to get a better understanding of the day-to-day life of a female inmate, according to The Source.
We are optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she —and so many like her—will get a second chance at life.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 31, 2018
Trump also tweeted about the meeting, saying: “Great meeting with @KimKardashian today, talked about prison reform and sentencing.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
On June 6, 2018, President Donald Trump commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson. Following the victory, Kardashian West tweeted: “It started with Ms. Alice, but looking at her and seeing the faces and learning the stories of the men and women I’ve met inside prisons I knew I couldn’t stop at just one. It’s time for REAL systemic change.”
It started with Ms. Alice, but looking at her and seeing the faces and learning the stories of the men and women I’ve met inside prisons I knew I couldn’t stop at just one. It’s time for REAL systemic change pic.twitter.com/kdKr8s6lJW
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 5, 2018
One such change was the recently passed criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act. The bill allows federal judges more leeway in determining sentences on drug cases. It also adds programs for prison rehabilitation. Prisoners stuck with harsh sentences for crack cocaine before August 2010 can petition for reduced penalties, according to the New York Post.
The bill was passed because of bipartisan cooperation by Democrats and Republicans. Trump tweeted on Dec. 20:
“Congress just passed the Criminal Justice Reform Bill known as the #FirstStepAct. Congratulations! This is a great bi-partisan achievement for everybody. When both parties work together we can keep our Country safer. A wonderful thing for the U.S.A.!!”
Congress just passed the Criminal Justice Reform Bill known as the #FirstStepAct. Congratulations! This is a great bi-partisan achievement for everybody. When both parties work together we can keep our Country safer. A wonderful thing for the U.S.A.!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
One such beneficiary of the First Step Act was Matthew Charles, who served 21 years of his 35-year drug sentence. Kardashian West also advocated for his release. Charle’s attorney sought clemency, but now won’t have to, because of the First Step Act.
On Jan. 3, Kardashian West praised President Donald Trump for his help that led to the release of the 52-year-old grandfather, Matthew Charles. She tweeted: “Just got word that Matthew Charles will be coming home within 24 hours. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for signing the 1st step act. This is what true bipartisanship can accomplish.”
Just got word that Matthew Charles will be coming home within 24 hours. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for signing the 1st step act. This is what true bipartisanship can accomplish. https://t.co/9EnwDSksfw
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 3, 2019
The victories of Johnson, Charles, and recently, Brown, Kardashian West is on a 3-for-3 win streak.