President Trump has pardoned an African-American great-grandmother serving a lifetime prison sentence for a first-time nonviolent drug offense.
Alice Marie Johnson has been in federal prison since 1996. She is 63 years old.
She 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.
A campaign for Johnson’s release had been advocated by the celebrity Kim Kardashian West.
West met with President Trump in the Oval Office last week to talk about the case.
USA Today’s White House correspondent Gregory Korte tweeted, “Sources tell me the White House reached out to clemency advocates last week to get names of others who may be deserving of clemency like Alice Marie Johnson. Trump is now considering shortening the sentences for as many as 50 prisoners, mostly drug offenders.”
Johnson had been on a clemency list during the Obama administration, but Obama denied her case and hundreds of others, according to BBC reporter Jessica Lussenhop.
Johnson’s is the latest of several pardons signed by President Trump, including those for conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, former vice presidential adviser Scooter Libby, and deceased world-champion boxer Jack Johnson.
“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,” the statement continued, “it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance.”