Celebrity

Kim Kardashian shares emotional letter from jailed woman who sparked her meeting with Trump

Alice Johnson wrote, "I was drowning and you have thrown me a life jacket..."

Kim Kardashian met with Donald Trump yesterday to discuss prison reform, in particular she wanted to discuss Alice Johnson; a woman who has served 20 years (of a life sentence) in prison for a nonviolent drug offense.

The KKW Beauty mogul has become a vocal advocate for Johnson in recent months, believing that the mother-of-five, grandmother-of-six, and great-grandmother of one who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted in 1996 for her role in a cocaine trafficking operation, is being unfairly punished by America's prison system for a first time offense.

The May 31 meeting saw the two reality stars talk in the Oval Office but weeks prior to the meet up Kim explained to Mic why 62-year-old Johnson's situation struck a chord with her, and why she's keen to lend her platform to prison reform:

After the meeting Kim shared the letter Alice had written to her on Instagram with the great-grandmother saying Kiki's efforts felt like she was being tossed a "life jacket".

"I was drowning and you have thrown me a life jacket and given me hope that this Life jacket I'm serving may one day be taken off," Johnson wrote.

She continued: "I am so humbled by what you are doing and have already done on my behalf."

Johnson then mentioned African-American civil rights hero, Rosa Parks and said Kim's lobbying, bringing light to the nation's prison crisis, would also go down in history.

"I believe that history will record that Kim Kardashian had the courage to take a stand against human warehousing," she wrote.

A letter from prisoner Alice Johnson to Kim Kardashian.
A letter from prisoner Alice Johnson to Kim Kardashian.

Post-meeting one of Alice's lawyers, Brittany Barnett, spoke to the Daily Mail and said, "The message to the president is that Alice Johnson, the 21 years she has been in prison, represents a punishment that more than pays her debt to society and that to keep her prison the rest of her life is morally and economically unjustifiable."

Kim reportedly left the White House and went to meet Ivanka Trump and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner—who has pursued criminal justice reform—at their DC home.

The Keeping Up with the Kardashians' star was seen walking inside "laughing with the First Daughter and her husband", reports the Daily Mail.

Kim tweeted, "I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense."

She then added, "We are optimistic about Ms. Johnson's future and hopeful that she —and so many like her—will get a second chance at life."

President Trump also tweeted the photo of Kim in the Oval Office with the comment: "Great meeting with @KimKardashian today, talked about prison reform and sentencing."

While Kim's intentions seem to be purehearted, the meeting did attract its fair share of hate.

Amid the tweets and social media commentary highlighting Kim's lack of qualifications to meet the POTUS on such a nuanced topic, was this very sexist New York Post front page which mocked the mother-of-three calling her, "Kim Thong Un".

Srsly you guys???

But Kim did have her fair share of high-profile defenders. CNN's Don Lemon and Van Jones expressed their outrage at the overtly nasty headline while appearing on a panel discussing the meeting.

"The dismissal of Kim Kardashian based on a mistake that she made when she was young woman, I'm just tired of that," said Jones.

The anchor continued, "A lot of people have made that kind of mistake with a sex tape but they have not then gone on to build [multi-million dollar] businesses and so part of what has to happen is if we believe in redemption, if we believe in second chances, for Miss Alice, for the 200,000 federal prisoners, for everybody, then let's believe in it an applaud people when they do the right thing."

Here! Here!

America's overall incarcerated population is about 2.3 million, according to Prison Policy Initiative; for context that would be roughly equivalent 10 per cent of Australia's entire population being locked up. Also, nearly 48 per cent of people in the federal prison system are serving time for drug crimes and evidence suggests minorities are disproportionately jailed. As pointed out by Vox:

So while Kim might be keen to get the president on board to pardon Alice, as well as an overhaul the prison system, when you consider Trump's past comments about introducing the death penalty for drug traffickers Kim and co. could have a long way to go before there's actual change.