Donald Trump Commutes Drug Offender Grandmother’s Sentence After Kim Kardashian’s Plea
Kim Kardashian West at the White House after he meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump (Photo: Twitter @realDonaldTrump)

U.S. President Donald Trump has commuted the jail sentence of Alice Johnson, a 63-year old African American woman who has served 22 years of her life imprisonment sentence for a non-violent drug charge.

Trump’s decision to commute Johnson’s sentence comes just five days after reality-TV star Kim Kardashian West brought the grandmother’s case to his notice. Kim Kardashian West lobbied for Johnson’s release after she was granted an Oval Office meeting with Trump.

Johnson was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine, according to the nonprofit Can-Do, which advocates for clemency for non-violent drug offenders.

"Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades. Despite receiving a life sentence, Alice worked hard to rehabilitate herself in prison, and act as a mentor to her fellow inmates," the White House said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

"While this Administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance," the statement added.

In the United States, the pardon power for federal crimes is granted to the President of the United States under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution which states that the President "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States."

Kim Kardashian came across Johnson’s story after spotting a video about the case on social media. She then joined a long-running campaign for Johnson's freedom, spearheaded by the clemency foundation CAN-DO, friends and family. Kardashian then reportedly reached out to Ivanka Trump who connected her with her husband and Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner who is working to rehaul American’s prison system.

Johnson’s case had also been sent to former President Barack Obama’s office but it had been rejected.

Kardashian West hailed the commutation, tweeting, "BEST NEWS EVER!!!!" and expressing gratitude to Trump and senior adviser Jared Kushner. She reportedly herself called up Johnson in prison, to give news of the President’s decision.

However, there has been immense criticism about the arbitrariness in issuing clemency to those seeking it. Johnson’s case which was highlighted by U.S.’s biggest reality-tv star underscores the point that access to those in power as well as social media exposure could in fact get you a pardon when the justice system has failed.

Johnson was released from prison hours after news of Trump’s pardon came.