In 2018, Kim Kardashian West made headlines when she came to the aid of Alice Marie Johnson, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 1997. At the time, Kardashian West successfully advocated President Donald Trump for Johnson’s commutation and ultimately helped get her released after 21 years in prison.
“We worked on that together and then afterwards, Kim was so committed to the issue and kept seeing -- up close and personal through Alice's case -- how much work needed to be done that she then got involved with the First Step Act and helped us get that passed,” Jessica Jackson, co-founder of #cut50 and one of Kardashian West’s legal mentors, tells ET.
A year later, Kardashian West became the face of criminal justice reform, continuing her partnership with #cut50 to advocate on behalf of several convicted criminals -- including Momolu Stewart, David Sheppard and Alexis Martin -- whom they believed had been unfairly sentenced and to help develop and promote policy that will put an end to systemic problems within the system.
Now, Kardashian West is releasing Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project. Debuting on Oxygen, the two-hour film documents her ongoing efforts to expose injustices and advocate for real change as she meets with policymakers and lobbies public officials, reviews cases, sits down with people behind bars who need her help, and works with her legal team to facilitate their release.
“I think Kim, and this is one of the things that I really appreciate about working with her, is that she’s so smart and right off the bat, she realized a big part of this issue is the fact that people don't see the other side of the justice system,” Jackson says of Kardashian West’s decision to have cameras follow her on this journey. “You have so many shows, like Cops and CSI, where everybody wants to catch the bad guy. But you don't ever hear about what's going on in that person's life that led to this decision to commit a crime.”
“There are millions of people impacted by this broken justice system, and I wanted to put faces to these numbers and statistics,” Kardashian West said when the project was first announced. “There are a lot of people who deserve a second chance, but many do not have the resources to make it happen. I want to help elevate these cases to a national level to effect change.”
Ultimately, the documentary is providing context that left unsaid greatly changes the views and outcomes of these convictions. One such example is Dawn Jackson, who was found guilty of stabbing a man to death. This man, it turns out, repeatedly raped and abused her since she was five years old. These are just some of the gruesome revelations included in a letter that Jackson wrote Kardashian West, seeking clemency.