The woman whose prison sentence President Trump commuted this week at the petition of Kim Kardashian West is praising God for her release.
In video footage that has rocketed around the Internet, Alice Johnson, 62, who spent more than 21 years imprisoned in a federal correctional facility for her role in a drug trafficking operation, gathered around friends and family in Aliceville, Alabama, Wednesday overflowing with joy.
“I want to first of all thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” she said, surrounded by cameras and reporters. “Without Him I can do nothing. But with Him I can do everything.” She then thanked President Trump, shouting “Hallelujah” and expressed gratitude for Kim Kardashian who visited the president last month to ask him to consider commuting her sentence. Johnson, who became a Christian in prison and model inmate, said Wednesday she felt like her life was starting over again.
President Trump, who said he believes in second chances and offering mercy, posted his well wishes Thursday, writing on Twitter: “Good luck to Alice Johnson. Have a wonderful life!”
In an official statement, the White House said Wednesday that 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.”
“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.”
Johnson, who is from Memphis, Tennessee, was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 for involvement in a drug ring from 1991-94. In 1996, she was tried for cocaine conspiracy and money laundering charges along with two others.
Johnson’s sentence was not reduced.
Kardashian West became interested in Johnson’s case upon seeing a Mic story detailing her plight while scrolling through Twitter.
Johnson has called Kardashian West her “war angel.”
Kardashian West recounted on social media Wednesday how she broke the news to Johnson.
“The phone call I just had with Alice will forever be one of my best memories. Telling her for the first time and hearing her screams while crying together is a moment I will never forget.”
She has said that she would continue to advocate for issues related to prison reform.
“To go and spend my money buying material things doesn’t satisfy me the way it used to,” West told Mic. “I thought, well, if I could put the money into a shopping spree…to save someone’s life and do it once a year, that would make my heart fuller.”
Trump is being praised for his efforts at prison reform and is working with both democrats and republicans but also including faith groups to make sure the effort has broad support.