07 Jun '18 19:20>
President Donald Trump commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson on Wednesday, just days after reality star Kim Kardashian West lobbied the president in an Oval Office meeting to intervene on behalf of Johnson, who was serving a life sentence on drug charges.
Johnson, 63, has been in federal prison more than 21 years after being found guilty in connection to a drug trafficking conspiracy, and she would have died behind bars without the president's clemency. She is one of thousands of Americans serving life sentences for nonviolent offenses, according to a 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, the vast majority of whom are there on drug crimes.
"Ms. Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades," the White House said in a statement. "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."
Video from NBC affiliate WVTM of Birmingham showed Johnson throw her arms wide to embrace family after leaving Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville Wednesday.
"I'm free to hug my family," Johnson said. "I'm free to live life. I'm free to start over. I can not — this is the greatest day of my life ... My heart is just bursting with gratitude for what has taken place," She thanked President Trump and Kardashian West.