In a twist of fate that many people never expected from anyone in the Kardashian-Jenner family, Kim Kardashian West has been on the path to becoming a lawyer and prison reform advocate the last few years. On Sunday April 5, her new justice documentary titled Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project comes out on the Oxygen network. The documentary is all about how her involvement in and advocacy for prison reform.
As a public figure, she’s spent the last few years trying to bring national attention to cases that have been overlooked, and people who should be freed from their sentences. The new documentary details how Kardashian West first started her quest to become a lawyer, and who she’s helped in her effort to change the criminal justice system so far.
Together with her lawyer, Brittney K. Barnett, the reality television star has helped fund some of the biggest campaigns to commute people’s sentences and get them out of prison. But who exactly has Kim Kardashian West helped so far on her tireless journey to change the system? We’ve rounded up a list of some of the biggest cases she’s helped commute and the people she’s helped to free.
Alice Marie Johnson
In 2018, Kardashian West helped to free Alice Marie Johnson, a 64-year-old woman who was freed from prison after 19 years, thanks to a campaign by Kim Kardashian West. Johnson’s life sentence for a nonviolent drug charge was successfully commuted and she was released after Kardashian West petitioned directly to Donald Trump. After that, Johnson was chosen to help model Kardashian West’s new underwear line.
Momolu Stewart, a 39-year-old who walked out of the Central Detention Facility in Washington, D.C. in October 2019, was released after serving more than 23 years, in part thanks to Kardashian West. Stewart was sentenced to life for the 1997 shooting death of Mark Rosebure. At the time, Stewart was only 16 years old, but tried as an adult, which is fairly common in America, especially for black boys.
While serving his time, Stewart earned a GED and college credits through Georgetown University’s Prison Scholars Program. When Kardashian West went to visit the prison to learn more about the prison scholars program in July of 2019, she met Stewart, and began correspondence with him. About a month later, she wrote a letter to the judge reviewing his case, Robert Salerno, highlighting Stewart's achievements while in prison and asking the judge to accept his petition to be released.
After another campaign to commute sentences, this time specifically for women in prison, Kardashian West helped to free Crystal Munoz. By funding the 90 Days of Freedom Campaign, a response to Trump’s signing of the First Step Act — which banned the inhuman treatment of shackling women in prison during childbirth — Kardashian West helped to free Crystal Munoz and 16 other women from prison. Munoz was originally arrested for “conspiring to distribute marijuana,” and served 12 years in prison. Her case had been highlighted as an example in the First Step Act.
Judith Negron’s sentence of 35 years in prison, charged with fraud, makes her one of the highest sentenced women in history under her sentence type. She was sentenced to 35 years in 2011 for aiding a $200 million fraud case. When later asked what she would do if released, Negron said, “I plan to utilise this experience to bring awareness to society of the urgent need for support groups that can properly address the serious consequences that our children face as a result of the stigma that comes with being ‘children of incarcerated parents’.” Negron's sentence was commuted in February and she accompanied Kardashian West to the White House in March to advocate for other women in prison.
Convicted on drug charges in 2006 when she was then only a 22-year-old and a mother-of-one, Tynice Hall was arrested after an investigation into her boyfriend led the police to finding a serious stash of drugs at their home. Conspiracy law held her accountable for all the illegal conducts of her partner, making her equally culpable.
When Kardashian West helped to free Hall and tweeted about her at the beginning of March this year, she said “Tynice Hall was sentenced to 35 years in prison for a first time non violent drug conspiracy. Her boyfriend at the time used her house for his illegal drug activities. She was only 22 years old when she went to prison and left behind a 3 year old son.”
Other incarcerated people Kardashian West helped
These are not the only people Kim Kardashian West has helped get out of prison, but there are quite literally too many to name and profile in one place. For the last several years, Kardashian West has been on a roll, consistently visiting President Donald Trump to have more people’s sentences commuted. Among them are Matthew Charles, who is believed to be the first person released under the First Step Act, passed by Trump in 2018, largely because of public discourse caused in part by Kardashian West. Many other names of those Kardashian West has helped free have chosen to remain anonymous.
MiAngel Cody, the lead counsel of The Decarceration Collective, an initiative defending people sentenced to prison for life on drug charges, has spoken highly of Kardashian West and her actions, saying, “When people get out of prison, they might be incarcerated hundreds of miles from their families and they might need help getting home. Really important, critical things that people might not realize -- and those are things Kim is helping with as well.”
Barnett, Kardashian West’s own attorney, has stated that the women who have been released from prison have gotten their lives back in large part because of Kim, who has provided financial support to cover fees for them. “Our relationships with our clients don't end when they are freed. [Kim] is truly dedicated to the issue. I work personally with her, we are really grateful,” Barnett says.