Kim Kardashian West, who is among the celebrities who have advocated for criminal justice reform, speaks during an event on second chance hiring and criminal justice reform with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

 

If you had told me five years ago that I’d be writing an article about any member of the Kardashian family, I would have laughed in your face. And yet, it’s 2020 and here I am. 

Kim Kardashian-West met with President Donald Trump in the White House on Wednesday to continue the conversation on criminal justice reform. Three former prisoners whose sentences were commuted by the president accompanied the television star.

The meeting was not announced publicly, but two officials familiar with the story gave the details to USA Today. Later in the day, Kardashian-West affirmed that she would be meeting with the president. She also posted a tweet celebrating the newfound freedom of the women:

In 2018, Kardashian-West brought the case of Alice Johnson, a black woman who was serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug conviction, to the president. Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence and signed the “First Step Act,” into law. The legislation, which was designed to help ex-convicts assimilate back into society and reduce recidivism, has already free thousands of former inmates.

Last month, Trump issued a number of pardons and commutations including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik. These high-profile cases attracted the bulk of the media’s attention. But now, these the stories of these three women will be showcased. 

Kardashian-West posted a series of tweets highlighted each of the three women:

 

Kardashian-West has become a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform. She has met with the president on multiple occasions to discuss the issue and argued for clemency for Matthew Charles, who was re-arrested after having been released due to an error. He was once again released in 2019.

Many on the left criticized the First Step Act, arguing that it does not go far enough, especially when it comes to problems with sentencing. But now, the Senate appears ready to pass a bill addressing sentencing reform. But much of the criticism of the law was not based on principle, it was based on something far more predictable. 

Several media figures on the left opposed the legislation on the grounds of, “Orange Man Bad.” In a piece for The Huffington Post, Roy L. Austin, Jr. wrote, “We would be taking a single step after the current administration has already taken us two steps backward. What we need now is true criminal justice reform, not a half-measure.”

In a piece for Fox News, Ja’ron K. Smith, the special assistant to President Trump for domestic policy, argued that the First Step Act would do more than ensure that convicts who committed nonviolent crimes would not serve excessive sentences. He wrote: 

“The focus of the First Step Act is lowering crime and rethinking our approach to prison, so that when those who are incarcerated ultimately return home, they will be productive, law-abiding members of our communities.”

Neither President Trump or Kardashian-West have publicized the details of their meeting. Nevertheless, it appears that the push for criminal justice reform continues, and the president is open to having the conversation. 

 

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