Is Kim Kardashian Becoming the New Face For Prison Reform?
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian made headlines for prison reform this week. In fact, she comes up with every search for “prison reform” on the internet, and media outlets are analyzing her new assumed role as a prison reform advocate. This is after she met with President Donald Trump at the White House and chipped in a word for 65-year-old Alice Marie Johnson.
Marie Johnson is a great-grandmother serving life without parole for drug crimes. She was sentenced to prison in 1997 for drug conspiracy and money laundering for Columbian drug lords, the New York Post revealed.
Both Trump and Kim Tweet to Reinforce the Purpose of Their Earlier Meeting
During her Wednesday meeting with President Trump, Kim Kardashian West discussed prison reform and sentencing as they relate to the incarcerated Johnson who had spent 21 years behind bars. The meeting was reportedly set up by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Kim and Ivanka Trump, Kushner’s wife, are very good friends. Kushner is a prison reform advocate and oversees the administration’s prison reform initiatives.
As is characteristic of Trump, he took to Twitter to tweet about his meeting with Kardashian and their conference which reportedly had Kushner in attendance.
“Great Meeting with Kim Kardashian today,” the president tweeted. “Talked about prison reform and sentencing.”
Kardashian responded with a grateful tweet and expressed hopes for Alice Marie Johnson’s release.
“I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon,” Kim wrote. “It is our hope that the president will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense. 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’s Meeting with the President Could Do a Lot for Criminal Justice System
If Kim Kardashian is becoming the new face of prison reforms, it could help bring much-needed media attention to prison advocacy campaigns across the United States. Kushner is already urging the Senate to consider a bill for prison reform which the House passed recently, and Kim’s advocacy could swing the pendulum in favor of the bill.
The bill called the First Step Act passed the House last week in an overwhelming 360-59 vote, only two GOP lawmakers voted against the legislation. Opposition to the bill says it doesn’t do enough primarily because it doesn’t address sentencing reform.
As the Washington Post explained, what the First Step Act does do is “provide $50 million a year for five years in new funding for education and rehabilitation programs in federal prisons, encourage inmates to participate in those programs by giving them credits for early release, and allow some prisoners to serve the balance of their sentences in halfway houses or home confinement.”
The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star wields a lot of influence in social circles, and her husband Kanye West pulls a lot of weight in the country. It is hoped that Kim’s meeting with Trump will not only ensure Ms. Johnson’s release from prison, it will also work to reform the entire criminal justice system in the US as they relate to –
- Mass incarceration
- Mandatory sentencing
- Solitary confinement
- Prison visitation
- Prison conditions
- Re-entry programs, etc.
Whether you like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West or not, the media spotlight follows them, and if they take up the issue of prison reform they will bring that media spotlight to prison reform.