The President has officially pardoned an elderly grandma serving a life sentence without parole, after a surprise meeting with Kim Kardashian last week. 63-year-old Alice Johnson, who was originally arrested for her involvement with a cocaine ring, thanked the President wholeheartedly.
• “I have not heard directly from the White House yet, but I’d like to tell president Trump that I am so grateful for everything that you’ve done for me and my family,” Johnson exclaimed. “This moment right now is happening because President Trump had mercy on me.”
• Kardashian’s meeting with the POTUS last week was specific; she implored the POTUS to review what she considers “unfair” and “unjust” penalties for non-violent drug offenders. She isn’t alone in her thoughts; many law enforcement officers, judges, and lawyers agree with her.
• Many such offenders are serving life without parole for simple possession. At least one such sentence was for an unweighable amount of heroin found in a bottlecap. Others remain imprisoned for life over trace amounts of crack, less than a gram of marijuana, or paraphernalia with trace amounts of drugs.
• The ACLU and Amnesty International have condemned the US for decades over long penalties for non-violent crimes. They and other human rights organizations believe the sentences are preposterous and unfair.
• Some organizations also claim virtual life sentences for nonviolent crimes disproportionately impact people of color. Research shows that federal sentences for drug trafficking are about 18 times longer for the average black man than for white men who commit the same crimes.
• Federal data shows that America’s overfilled prisons are disproportionately filled with people charged with drug crimes. An incredible 48 percent of all convicts are currently serving time related to drugs. According to the Sentencing Project, at least 103 are serving “virtual life sentences.”
• Johnson also encouraged Trump to look forward. “I’d like to tell him that please, please remember us, the others who have been left behind because there are so many, as you said, like me who need to have – who do need to have an opportunity, the opportunity that I’ve had.