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Alice Johnson, who had her life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense commuted by President Trump in 2018, praised the president's commitment to criminal justice reform at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

The big picture: Johnson celebrated the First Step Act, the Trump-backed bipartisan criminal justice bill that passed six months after her commutation. The bill led to the release of at least 3,000 inmates by the end of 2019, according to NBC News.

Between the lines: After a summer of protests over police brutality and system racism, the Trump campaign has recently poured big money into Facebook ads promoting the administration's criminal justice reform efforts.

What she's saying: “I was once told that the only way I would ever be reunited with my family would be as a corpse. But by the grace of God and the compassion of President Donald John Trump, I stand before you tonight…and I assure you, I’m not a ghost! I am alive, I am well, and most importantly, I am free," Johnson said.

  • "In 1996, I began serving time in prison -- Life plus 25 years. I had never been in trouble. I was a first-time, nonviolent offender. What I did was wrong. I made decisions that I regret."
  • "Some say, ‘You do the crime. You do the time.’ However, that time should be fair and just. We’ve all made mistakes, and none of us want to be defined forever based on our worst decision."
  • “When President Trump heard about me — about the injustice of my story — he saw me as a person. He had compassion. And he acted. Free in body thanks to President Trump. But free in MIND thanks to the almighty God.”

The bottom line: "I pray that you will not just hear this message, but that you will be inspired by my story, and your compassion will lead you to take action for those who are forgotten," Johnson concluded.

Of note: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who also spoke at the RNC on Thursday, was one of the hardline conservatives who fought against the First Step Act.

Go deeper

Trump campaign, RNC have raised $207.5 million since Election Day

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee said Thursday they have hauled in $207.5 million since Election Day.

Why it matters: The funds have been largely raised through President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden. His campaign's slew of lawsuits and recount efforts have seen little success.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.