Kim Kardashian gives prisoner a lifeline

Kim Kardashian attends the CFDA Fashion awards in Brooklyn, New York, on June 4, 2018.
Kim Kardashian attends the CFDA Fashion awards in Brooklyn, New York, on June 4, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • The prisoner received a phone call from Kim Kardashian, broke down - and screamed in happiness.

Alice Marie Johnson, 63, who has been locked up since 1996 on charges related to cocaine distribution and money laundering, heard from the reality show star that United States President Donald Trump had commuted her sentence.

Johnson's case had been brought to his attention by Kardashian, who learnt of it through a video that went viral on social media.

She visited Mr Trump at the White House last week to lobby on the prisoner's behalf.

"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 White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

The reprieve will provide an unexpected new lifeline for Johnson, who once said that her family "told me that coming to visit me in prison is like visiting a grave site. They said that they could see the place where my body lay, but they can never take me home again".

While in prison, where she became a grandmother and great-grandmother, Johnson enrolled in educational and vocational programmes, volunteered to help sick and dying prisoners and helped coordinate the prison's Special Olympics.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2018, with the headline 'Kim Kardashian gives prisoner a lifeline'. Print Edition | Subscribe