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Kardashian West Visits White House Seeking Freedom For A Grandmother Serving Life

Kim Kardashian West went to the White House to advocate for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, who has spent more than two decades behind bars for a first-time offense.

Kim Kardashian West speaks at an event June 13, 2017, in New York City.

Kim Kardashian West was at the White House Wednesday, as the reality star seeks freedom for a great-grandmother serving a life sentence in federal prison.

Kardashian West has been pushing for the release of Alice Marie Johnson since she heard Johnson tell her story on news website Mic.

Johnson was convicted in 1996 for a first-time drug offense. She has been behind bars for more than two decades.

While at the White House, Kardashian West is scheduled to meet with White House official Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, to make the case that Johnson deserves clemency.

Kushner has spearheaded a White House initiative to help better prepare prisoners for life after incarceration.

Brittany Barnett, who is part of the legal team set up by Kardashian West to represent Johnson, says the hope is that Kardashian West will also be able to speak directly with President Trump.

Johnson’s supporters say she has been a model prisoner. During her time as an inmate, Johnson has written plays and become an ordained minister.

“To keep Miss Alice in prison for the rest of her life is morally and economically indefensible,” Barnett said. “She has more than paid her debt to society.”

Prison reform advocates argue that lengthy sentences issued during the height of America’s so-called war on drugs for nonviolent charges are cruel and inhumane. They also point out that keeping these individuals incarcerated is costly for taxpayers.

In his last years in office, former President Obama undertook a project to commute the sentences of certain nonviolent drug offenders.

While Obama commuted a record number of sentences, Johnson was denied clemency at that time.

Now Kardashian West and others are hoping Trump will act on Johnson’s behalf.

Kardashian West is the latest celebrity to ask Trump to use his clemency power.

Actor Sylvester Stallone successfully lobbied Trump for a posthumous pardon of legendary boxer Jack Johnson.

Kardashian West’s husband, Kanye West, is a Trump supporter. The president and West exchanged compliments on Twitter last month.

Trump has granted four pardons and one commutation since becoming president. All of the cases involved prominent figures or received a lot of media attention.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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