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What Is Kim Kardashian West Doing For Criminal Justice Reform?
The five things that prove Kardashian West is serious about changing the system.
From supporting clemency pleas for people in prison to using her platform to bring attention to potential laws that could change lives, Kim Kardashian West has steadily grown her reputation as an influential advocate for criminal justice reform.
Her upcoming documentary, "Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project," which documents her efforts to "secure freedom for Americans who she believes have been wronged by the justice system," premieres Sunday, April 5 at 7/6c on Oxygen.
Before tuning in, catch up on how the reality-TV-star-turned-activist has proven that she is serious about helping people and transforming the system for the better.
1. She’s pushed for change at the White House.
Kardashian West doesn’t just push for change on social media — she’s taken her views all the way to the White House multiple times.
In addition to meeting with President Donald Trump to champion the pardon of an incarcerated great-grandmother, Alice Marie Johnson, Kardashian West has attended meetings on prison reform.
She also took part in what the Trump administration called a “listening session about the clemency process” in September 2018, reported USA Today.
She was back in D.C. last June to speak in support of the First Step Act, which includes measures to reduce sentences for incarcerated people, reported AP News.
2. She’s studying to become a lawyer.
Kardashian West is also taking steps to become a lawyer.
During a 2019 Vogue interview, she revealed that she is studying to become a lawyer and has plans to take the bar in 2022. In lieu of the traditional path of going to law school, Kardashian West is instead taking the route of an apprenticeship with a law office. Kardashian West was encouraged to take on a whole new career after seeing success with Alice Marie Johnson’s famous case, she told Vogue.
About the criminal justice system, she told CNN in April 2019: “When I did go to the White House and when I learned so much about the system and what is going on deep into the system, I was honestly so surprised. I really had no idea how broken the system is, and I just figured, if I know more about the system, I can do more for the system.”
She may have a few years to go before her big test, but she’s reportedly already acing her exams and ignoring her haters along the way.
3. She supports voting rights for parolees.
Kardashian West traveled to Sacramento, California, in January 2019 to speak about the Free the Vote Act, a bill that, if ratified, would allow 48,000 people on parole for felony convictions to vote, according to the Sacramento Bee.
State residents will be able to vote on the matter in 2020, and with enough majority support, it will become law, according to another report from the Sacramento Bee.
During her visit to the capitol, Kardashian West met with Senate President pro tempore Toni Atkins of San Diego, the paper reported.
The budding activist also posted a photo of herself in the California State Senate Chamber on Twitter, and wrote about her trip in the caption, “Had a great day at the California Capital today discussing criminal justice reform.”
This is not the only time Kardashian West has pushed for bills that would help those affected by the criminal justice system.
In July 2018, she lent her support to Assembly Bill 2550, asking California Governor Jerry Brown to support a bill that, among other protective measures, prohibits male correctional officers from performing pat-down searches on female inmates unless in the event of immediate danger.
4. She’s used her platform to support to everyday people.
In the past year, Kardashian West has lent her support to several incarcerated people, including Momolu Stewart and David Sheppard.
Stewart and Sheppard, whose cases will be featured in "Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project," were both released from prison this past year, thanking Kardashian West for her assistance in interviews with Oxygen.com.
While Sheppard called her "a great blessing," Stewart highlighted her "ability to believe in others when the conventional aspect of things would be to shun ‘em.”
Along with helping those in prison regain their freedom, Kardashian West has also supported formerly incarcerated people restart their lives.
Following the May 2019 Met Gala, Kardashian West flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, with her doctor to help Paul Algarin remove his facial tattoos following his release from prison.
“Such a special day that I will forever cherish,” Algarin’s sister, Azaria Algarin, wrote of Kardashian West's visit with her family.
5. She’s gotten real results.
Of all the people Kardashian West has used her fame to help, the most recognizable name is likely Alice Marie Johnson, a 64-year-old great-grandmother who was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.
Johnson said during a 2016 video appearance at Yale Law School that she was a “telephone mule” for drug traffickers. Although she did not have a hand in manufacturing or selling drugs, she was convicted on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine, attempted possession of cocaine and money laundering, which landed her a sentence of life without parole.
In 2018, Johnson’s case caught the attention of Kardashian West, who used her platform to tell Johnson’s story and advocate for her release during multiple meetings with Jared Kushner and President Donald Trump. Trump officially pardoned Johnson in June 2018, just one week after meeting with Kardashian West.
In addition to helping with Johnson’s case, Kardashian West has championed a number of inmates seeking clemency, including Cyntoia Brown, who was freed last year.
To hear more about Kardashian West's path to advocacy, watch "Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project" on Sunday, April 5 at 7/6c on Oxygen.