Alice Marie Johnson praises Kim Kardashian West for helping her get out of prison


Alice Marie Johnson, whose unfair and unjust life sentence for a non-violent drug trafficking charge was commuted in 2018 after Kim Kardashian West saw a Mic.com video about her story and made advocating for Johnson a viral cause, joins Salon’s D. Watkins to discuss her first year out of prison.

Johnson’s new book, "After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom," documents how she held onto hope and learned to give it to others. Johnson admits that “I did do wrong” and that she did serve as an information mule in a drug operation. However, a life sentence did not match the crime. “I was supposed to draw my last dying breath in prison,” Johnson explained. “I didn't pose a risk to society. Of course, I had a debt to pay for committing a crime, but should it have been life? Absolutely not,” Johnson shared with SalonTV’s D. Watkins.

Johnson served 21 years in prison and was released in June 2018 after President Donald Trump granted her clemency. Johnson praised Kardashian West’s advocacy that helped elevate her case and get her a better lawyer.

“Many, many people saw that video, in fact, it was viewed by about 10 million people, but Kim didn't just say that this is so unfair, she took action. She contacted her attorney. They put together a legal team. She put her money in it. She put her time in it. She put her heart into my case,” Johnson said.

Johnson is now committed to helping others who are on the inside serving sentences where the time doesn’t fit the crime. “I paid for this message. I bought it and I paid for it with 21 years, seven months, and six days of my life. So I won't forget about the people who have been left behind, both women and men. I won't stop fighting. I won't, until change takes place. This is a movement, and this movement is not going to stop,” Johnson said.

Watch the episode above to hear more about how Johnson’s story and her takes on the criminal justice system and on returning citizens having the right to vote.

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