Apr 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

How Kim Kardashian became a champion for criminal justice reform

Kim Kardashian with Vice President Kamala Harris at a White House roundtable

Entrepreneur Kim Kardashian attends a criminal justice roundtable with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House on April 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Kim Kardashian, known for her reality TV stardom and business pursuits, has been expanding her influence in recent years into another arena: criminal justice activism.

Why it matters: Kardashian has now taken the cause to the White House during an election year multiple times.

  • She is visiting the White House Thursday for a roundtable on criminal justice reform with Vice President Kamala Harris, Axios first reported.
  • Four of the 16 people granted clemency by President Biden's administration earlier this week will also participate.
  • Kardashian previously expressed outspoken support for some of former President Trump's reforms, praising them during the 2020 election campaign.

State of play: Kardashian became a vocal activist for criminal justice reform via meetings with policymakers, a podcast and a documentary — mostly spotlighting individual cases.

  • "I wish I had paid attention sooner," Kardashian told Time in 2020.
  • She said she doesn't view prison reform as political.

Flashback: Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman serving a life sentence without parole for a nonviolent drug offense, in 2018, following pressure from his meeting with Kardashian on the case.

  • Jared Kushner, former White House senior adviser and Trump's son-in-law, led an effort to highlight prison reform, which focused on nonviolent offenders.

Zoom out: "Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project," a documentary, was released in 2020 and focused on Kardashian's advocacy in individual cases, including Johnson's.

  • The documentary shows Kardashian's care for reform based on the emotional nature of individual cases, Variety critic Daniel D'Addario wrote in 2020.
  • "It's obviously not sustainable to alleviate the mass crowding of America's prisons solely by appealing for clemency for specific prisoners," D'Addario wrote.

Go deeper: Scoop: Harris to host Kim Kardashian at White House to highlight Biden pardons

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a new photo.

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